Today, Jess Williams talked about the humanity of Mary of Nazareth, exploring how God’s arrival in Mary’s womb served as a proclamation of human dignity and worth. She thinks this message is one she needed and missed in her evangelical upbringing, which mostly emphasized the pursuit of Christian morality or perfection in order to achieve holiness. Jess points out that, like Mary, it’s our humanity that most qualifies us for partnership with God. She draws inspiration from Mary’s response to this invitation, particularly in the way it’s revealed in the Magnificat, and she believes that Mary’s story is our story too.
Peter Fitch spoke today about C. S. Lewis, telling some of the stories about complications that he faced in his life and career. Through it all he became a treasured writer who helped a great many people around the world. Even after his death, the complications continued as people dealt with his literary legacy. Before the talk we watched a video by Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton called “Say Something” as it speaks about the feelings we have in the midst of life’s complexities. Then Michael Leung shared some music that he created on the piano. After the talk, we watched a video of Leon Bridges called “River.”
David Moore spoke to us today from his home in California. He shared Scripture from Hebrews 11 and 12 and compared life to a relay race with a host of predecessors who are cheering us on while we run our segments of the race. They weren’t perfect in their understanding of life and we can see flaws in some of what they believed, but we can still be grateful that we’re all in the same race together. We are also free to choose the ancients that we most want to learn from. Some of the most incredible people suffered greatly for important causes and yet still reverberated with joy. (audio improves when David is speaking)
Today’s talk was all about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Peter Fitch shared a timeline of Bonhoeffer’s life that he has been working on for his work at the university, and he also focused on a recently-found letter that Bonhoeffer sent to Mahatma Gandhi in 1934, asking if he could come to visit in order to finally see what a community based on the Sermon on the Mount would look like. We finished with one of his poems from prison, “Who Am I?” The gorgeous musical set before the talk was done by Raymond Funk and Haydn Wiebe.