We have been holding Lent Course in both the afternoons and the evenings. This means that the widest possible number of people can get to something, unless your Monday is already maxed out with other activity. In this parishLife at least Monday seems to be given over to discipleship of some kind: Bible Study groups, Confirmation, Lent or Advent courses.
The format, however, remains fairly constant: sat on our sofas, decent cup of coffee (perhaps a glass of wine outside Lent), copy of a cheap youth bible in hand and a powerpoint presentation on the telly with a few interesting bits of YouTube thrown in. They remain quite relaxed, quite open and the topics under discussion always seem to start off in the right direction and then go somewhere quite unexplored.
I love that sense of adventure, although at the same time, I have a sense of duty to get through (most of) the material. I believe that the veering off topic is usually Spirit-led and brings us to new and different understandings. It also places me in challenging places where I often have to say “I don’t know the answer to that – let’s look it up” and so we turn to the resources of the Internet for a solution to a liturgical, ecclesiological or biblical question, or run to my study for some odd reference book or commentary (yes, it may surprise you, but I have books, lots of books: I love books, I collect books).
I’ve realised that I really need a larger stock of bibles, but a full and decent translation (in order of personal preference I would say Jerusalem/NRSV (tied), RSV, CEV, NIV) is really expensive. The last lot I bought in bulk at the Christian Resources Exhibition which worked out at about a fiver each. Maybe I’ll look again in May unless a better offer turns up.
There is something significant about sharing the journey, sharing prayer or silence, sharing a cup of coffee and a Fairtrade Caramel Break biscuit. It feels like family. It feels… good.