Posts Tagged ‘Holy Trinity Church’

To heaven with Scribes and Pharisees

November 21, 2011
Ecce Homo - Tony Mujica

Ecce Homo - Tony Mujica

It was as a Galilean Jew that he befriended the poor and the despised. It was as a Galilean Jew that he thundered against the powerful and the haughty. — Howard Jacobson

Jesus was living like a good Jew, going to the synagaoge, praying and living according to the Law of Moses in his house. — Fr Eugenio Alliato, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum

Yeshua was a Jew and an observant one … He stressed Torah and love – but in this he drew upon the Jewish tradition. — Leonard Swidler, American Roman Catholic scholar

To heaven hell with Scribes and Pharisees: A priest and a rabbi take a fresh look at the Jewish religion and its leaders at the time of Jesus.

Speakers:

– Rev Marcus Braybrooke, author of Meeting Jews
– Rabbi Jackie Tabick, chair World Congress of Faiths

The Revd Marcus Braybrooke, a retired parish priest, was awarded a Lambeth Doctorate of Divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of his more than 40 years contribution to the development of inter-religious co-operation and understanding throughout the world. He is a former Executive Director of the Council of Christians and Jews and is a Co-Founder of the Three Faiths Forum and also President of the World Congress of Faiths, of which Jackie Tabick is the chair.

Jackie Tabick, rabbi at the North West Surrey Synagogue at Weybridge is also on the executive of the Interfaith Network. When Jackie studied medieval history at the University of London, her speciality was church history. She went on to study for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College.

A Jewish-Christian double act.

Jesus was a Jew! He was a faithful Jew, brought up in a Jewish household, adhered to the Jewish faith.

Pharisees insisted on the letter of the law, legalism.

We need a historical reappraisal of Jesus as a Jew.

From a Christian perspective, Jewishness is seen as compliance with the law.

Was Jesus a Pharisee or an Essene? He was sufficiently conversant with the law to argue with the Pharisees on equal terms.

Jesus’ arguments with the Pharisees, as reported in the Gospels, were no greater than the arguments amongst the Pharisees themselves. There were sharp differences amongst the Rabbis, for example, between Hillel and Shammai, and their respective followers. It needs also to be remembered that the Gospels were written down at least thirty years after the death of Jesus and in part reflect the growing tension between the synagogue and early church, which is clearly illustrated in the Acts of the Apostles.

On the death of Jesus and the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple, there were two main religious groupings, the followers of Jesus a Jewish sect were one. These slowly draw apart until by 134 AD they could be seen as separate and distinct.

It is worth emphasizing that the split between church and synagogue took place over a long period and only in part for theological reasons. There was no sudden break. Rather, Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism are two developments, drawing on similar sources in first century Judaism, which gradually moved further and further apart, rather like a couple becoming estranged, who discover that in more and more ways their lives have drifted apart. By the end of the second Jewish revolt in 134 CE, despite some remaining links, ‘Christian and Jew were clearly distinct and separate.’ Over the centuries bitterness and hostility between the two communities increased and has only begun to be reversed in the twentieth century.

Jews were blamed for the death of Jesus. This is a bit like calling all Germans Nazis.

Pontius Pilate was a cruel Roman governor. He was recalled to Rome because of his cruelty. Judaea was a troublesome province. Any hint of insurrection, a leader of a revolt claiming to be the King of the Jews, would have attracted the death penalty. The Gospels, aiming at a Roman not Jewish audience, attempt to shift the blame onto the Jews.

It was not until 1965 that the Vatican issued a statement that the Jews were not responsible for the death of Jesus.

Did Jesus claim to be the Messiah, is that how his followers saw him? Later yes, but during his lifetime no. Son of God did not mean what we think today. It was a title.

The great Jewish New Testament scholar David Flusser was once asked after a talk to a group of clergy, ‘What do you pray for when you pray for Christians?’ He replied, ‘I pray that you will be more like your Master Jesus.’

Torah should be seen as teaching not the law.

Why did Pharisees get a bad press, and this was not only from the followers of Jesus, it was also in the eyes of other Jews?

It was a period of change and turmoil, out of which rose Judaism and Christianity. There were two other great Jewish teachers apart from Jesus, but these are unknown to Christians. The Jewish teachings did not end with the Old Testament, The Torah, to be replaced by the New Testament. Jews were developing their own scriptures in parallel with the New Testament.

What is known as The Torah came out of Babylon.

The High Priests were corrupt. An understanding of Jewishness was needed outside of the Temple which was central to what it was to be a Jew.

Jewishness had to be re-invented outside of the Temple. This became even more important after the Temple was destroyed.

Synagogues existed at the time of the Temple. They were centres of learning not prayer.

It is a Jewish tradition to argue for the sake of heaven. One does so with good heart, not enmity.

Jesus argued, he was following a Jewish tradition, he was a Jew!

Pharisees and Christians become the two main groups. Pharisees could exist outside of the Temple, the High Priests no longer existed. A whole new set of sacred literature was developed.

It is self-evident Jesus was a Jew. To understand his teachings one has to place them in their first century Jewish-Roman-Greek context. Many churches fail to understand this. Jesus behaved like a Jew. He nearly always answered a question with a question. That was the Jewish way. The Gospels were written for different groups, some more Jewish than others. Often the emphasis was on the difference to separate what were two competing religious groups, each claiming their Jewish heritage.

A common heritage, Jews, Christians and Muslims. For Jews the written word is the path to God, for Christians it is through Jesus, for Muslims it is the Koran.

The Bible speaks with many voices, often contradictory voices. What cannot be found in one source can often be found in another.

We hear a lot of Islamic fundamentalists, less of Christian fundamentalists. Those who lack doubt, who do not question, are bigots. We learn by talking to people of other faiths.

Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho is a devout Catholic, but he recognises there are many paths to God, no one person has a monopoly. As he describes in Aleph, he questioned his faith.

The Koran tells us that God made Man of many faiths and we should respect them.

Guildford Seeking Common Ground Lecture for Interfaith Week at Trinity Centre, Holy Trinity Church, top of Guildford High Street Monday 21 November 2011.

Behold! The Jewish Jesus
Christianity: A History – Episode 1: Jesus the Jew
Oneness of Humanity and the Unity of Religion
Choosing the best road
The Bible A Biography
What a Rabbi Learns from Muhammad
The Gospels
Where does the New Testament come from?
– Jesus Wars
Love Wins

Re:Creation

October 17, 2011
Re:Creation

Re:Creation

Re:Creation a biblical oratorio, telling the biblical story from beginning to end, music by David Perkins, adaptation of biblical verses by Derek Wensley.

It is not often one gets to meet the composer and lyricist of an oratorio, but on Saturday evening I got to meet both.

I was at a performance of Re:Creation with The Occam Singers and New London Sinfonia at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford.

The inspiration for Re:Creation the sacred choral music of Handel, Bach and Haydn. A work in five parts.

Let there be light. In part one repeated over and over again. First quietly then slowly growing until reaching a crescendo with a crash of cymbals. A glimmer of light, slowly brightening until one is blinded.

Either the second or third part, I lost track, more avant-garde. Hints of Bernstein and Gershwin, hints of Tubular Bells. There was again hints of Tubular Bells in the fourth and fifth parts.

God makes a comic opera appearance high up in the pulpit where he suddenly pops up, performs his piece, then pops back out of sight again. This appearance would be even more dramatic if spoken not sung as it would then stand out in contrast.

Both David Perkins and Derek Wensley took part in the performance, David Perkins on keyboard and Derek Wensley singing in the choir.

David Perkins is a writer of musicals, films scores. He has played keyboard at the National Theatre as a tribute to Scot Joplin.

Derek Wensley a United Reform minister now retired. Re:Creation is biblical story of ‘the God who was and is and always will be’.

The Occam Singers is a 40 strong chamber choir based in the Surrey village of Ockham. It was from the same village the medieval philosopher William of Occam, he of the sharp razor.

New London Sinfonia was formed in 1987.

Re:Creation is available as a limited edition double CD. I now have three copies and programme signed by David Perkins, Derek Wensley and one of the lead female singers.

Art @ Costa evening first Tuesday of the month (same day as farmers market) at Costa Coffee in Swan Lane, Guildford.

An African Christmas 6-30pm Saturday 10 December 2010 The Occam Singers at St Nicolas Church Guildford.

Choral evensong Surrey Cantata at Holy Trinity

October 3, 2011

St Therese’s day mass: priest calls Jesus “Master of Vineyard” (Maitre de la Vigne). Great definition, never heard that before. — Paulo Coelho

Choral evensong at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford sung by Surrey Cantata, directed by Prof Sebastian Forbes.

Music by Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625), Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656), William Byrd (1540-1623). The music was chosen to be that of the period 400 years ago.

Listening to the music I wondered what did the people of the time make of it and music by J S Bach, Vivaldi. Most would have been illiterate, their only source of information the sermons, the lessons and the stained glass windows.

Bibles, such as King James and earlier versions, were just becoming available.

A very interesting sermon by the Rector, Canon Robert Cotton.

He studied maths and philosophy at Merton College, Oxford. The college chapel has 13th century stained glass windows and a monument to one of the translators of the King James Bible, but his atributes are those of a scientist, not as translator and contributor to King James Bible.

This is a curious fact of all the monuments to those who contributed to the King James Bible, with one notable exception, a humble parish priest whose monument pays tribute to his ability as a linguist.

Archbishop George Abbot, one of the contributors to the King James Bible is entombed within Holy Trinity.

Choral evensong with Surrey Cantata was part of a day of celebrations of the four hundreth anniversary of the King James Bible.

The afternoon started with a talk by Sarah Foot, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Oxford University on medieval translations of the Bible before King James.

Medieval translations of the Bible before King James
Beautiful sung evensong

Beautiful sung evensong

May 27, 2011

Beautiful sung choral evensong this evening with Guildford Cathedral Choir at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford.

Sometimes we need these rituals. Instead of going away reflecting on the words of the priest, we immerse ourselves, experience the glory.

I was about to go home, when in walked a Danish choir, Simple Singers. Please join us they said. How could I say no? [see Danish rhythmical choir visits London and Guildford]

Canon Andrew White at Holy Trinity Church Clapham

November 21, 2010

Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad, gives the sermon at Holy Trinity Church Clapham, 23 May 2010.