Wednesday, October 31, 2007

St Paul Session

Had a great time talking to the Christian Union at Bucks New Uni on Monday evening as part of my role as one of the chaplaincy team there.

First of all I'd packed up a tent with various parts of the tent labelled with different stages in Paul's life. (see below*)

Then we talked about St Paul's journeys and how he travelled around so much sharing his faith.

As part of this I got them to list the things they could do individually and as a CU to share their faith with those around them and with the university. We then turned these lists into origami boats as a symbol of our hope to let their ideas "set sail"

We went on to talk about the Pauline letters (which are/aren't may/may not be written by Paul!) concluding that, no matter the authorship, the letters contained a lot that was worthy of study. Then I suggested they do a "secret santa" style letter exchange and write each other a letter using only quotations from the letters.

We then looked at the prayers that Paul uses to begin and end his letters particularly the grace as found in the conclusion to 2 Corinthians 13.

I put Philippians 2.5-16 before them as a model for them in their life in the university - shining as points of light in the dark as very few Christians in a fairly secular institution.

Then we concluded with my most favourite all time bit of probably one of my favourite books of the Bible (well certainly of the New Testament - gotta love bits of Job and Psalms!):

"Finally, beloved,
whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is just,
whatever is pure,
whatever is pleasing,
whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence and
if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing the things
that you have learned and
received and heard and seen in me,
and the God of peace will be with you."
Philippians 4.8-9

* Chronology of St Paul
1. Born at Tarsus in Cilicia (Acts 21:39)
2. Father was a Roman citizen (Acts 22:26-28; cf. 16:37),
3. Originally called SAUL played an active part in the martyrdom of St. Stephen (Acts 7:58-60) and the persecution of the church
4. Conversion experience on the road to Damascus (9:1-19; 22:3-21; 26:9-23)
5. Paul set about preaching to the Jews (Acts 9:19-20).
6. Withdrew to Arabia -- probably south of Damascus (Galatians 1:17 returned to Damascus but had to flee
7. He went to Jerusalem to see Peter (Galatians 1:18),
8. Paul’s activity is not recorded for 5-6 years. Barnabas goes to find him and they work together in Antioch and Jerusalem Acts 11:25-26).
9. First mission (Acts 13:1-14:27)
10. Second mission (Acts 15:36-18:22)
11. Third mission (Acts 18:23-21:26)
12. Captivity (Acts 21:27-28:31)
13. later years obscure before martyrdom at Rome in the reign of Nero.

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