We've all had periods of study in our lives and they usually consist of learning a subject matter piece by piece, mastering the subject in increments. Learning took time. But every now and then God reaches out and blesses your study period that you literally learn in leaps and bounds. You learn such a tremendous amount of stuff in such a short time that there is only one way to describe the experience - amazing. The Bible Journey course last weekend in Brussels was one. Simply amazing!
Add to that the fact that CFC Brussels did an incredible job in organizing the seminar, even given the short notice. The music ministry was outstanding. The hosts were warm, accommodating and embarrassingly kind. What a lovely community!
The Bible Journey course teaches the narrative approach to reading scriptures. It follows the historical timeline of the stories and characters in the bible and tells the epic story of Israel, as a nation and as a people. It's an incredibly exciting epic adventure of love, wars, conquests and triumphs. It tells of a covenant and its breaking and renewal, of faithfulness and betrayal, offense and forgiveness, captivity and freedom, of heroism, and of victory and defeat.
It is a story of a nation, it's rise and fall, the stubborness of its people pushing it from heights of humility and favor with God down to depths of hardships and captivity. It is a story of a people so beloved of God that He keeps sending them wise mean and prophets even though their stubborness drives them to idolatry and unfaithfulness. It is a story of a people at once humble and proud, of great men and women who fear God and were bestowed with awe-inspiring wisdom and righteousness. But it is also a story of weak men and scheming women, of disobedience and pride in steroidal proportions, and of stupidity and sin. It tells of passion and sacrifice, sex and politics, military prowess and espionage.
But most of all it is the story of a loving God who is slow to anger against His people's transgressions and who always gave hope. It is the story of a God who decided to come down as a man and take upon himself the burden of sin and whose life on earth is a reliving and a retelling of the story of the nation.
Amazingly though, within the interwoven lines of the story, we identify ourselves in it. Over and over again, we realize that we, more often than not, have the same unfaithfulness, idolatry, stupidity and disobedience as Israel did. As we find ourselves in the story it becomes ours and we become a part of it. The story continues today. God has entrusted us with its continuation and its retelling.
The course started with Fr. Mar's talk on Spiritual Leadership, which gives invaluable leadership lessons both for the leader and for those being led. If you're a leader:
- How do you know you were called?
- Have you been sent?
- Is your behavior as a leader spiritually inspired?
- Do you understand your role as a leader in the Lord's vineyard?
- Are your priorities aligned with the Lord's?
- Are your motivations Christ centered?
- Are you doing things for the wrong reasons?
- Are you falling into calssic leadership pitfalls?
For the those being led, the talk gives pointers on:
- What to look for and expect in a Christ centered leader
- What things to develop and learn to become a good leader
- Discerning the leader's motivations
- How important is prayer and total dependence on God for a leader
Each day began with a mass and Fr. Lyndon used his homilies to give inspired talks on Church documents, clearly showing the role of scripture in the Church and in the life of every Catholic. He discussed the sacraments and the teachings behind it and emphasized the importance of the Eucharist - it is the fount and summit of our Christian life.
All in all, a truly amazing weekend. I'm sure that those who attended went away feeling privileged. God is truly awesome. Praise Jesus!