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Hear the Beatitudes from Jesus' Context - and Ours

by Lifelong Learning Staff

An illustration by Ann Kim, for the 20112012 Horizons Bible

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promises blessing to those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, who are meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, peacemakers, and those who are persecuted because of righteousness.

When we read these well-known and well-loved declarations of blessedness, we miss their point if we do not study them within their literary, historical, and cultural contexts, says Margaret Aymer, Associate Professor of New Testament at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.

Come join us for either a weekday or weekend course, as we explore how the Beatitudes may have been heard when Jesus spoke them – during the time of the brutal Roman Empire.

Called “Confessing the Beatitudes,” this course will cover the 2011-2012 Horizons Bible Study, written by Aymer.

Designed for women who will be teaching the study, this workshop is open to anyone interested in this topic. Three themes are interwoven in the study:

- the imperial context in which Jesus teaches the Beatitudes (both in Matthew and in Luke);

- the conversation between the Beatitudes and the Accra Confession approved by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and

- the call to joyful confession.

“Confessing” the Beatitudes, we will read the Accra Confession of 2004 and create our own heartfelt confessions, in hopes moving from confession to action.

The WEEKDAY course, August 1-3, will be co-taught by Margaret Aymer and Rita Boyer (who wrote the Suggestions for Leaders in the study).

Aymer, an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., is author of “First Pure, Then Peaceable: Frederick Douglass, Darkness and the Epistle of James” (New York: T&T, 2007), as well as various academic and liturgical articles, and other resources.

Boyer is Director of Christian Education at Prospect Presbyterian Church in Maplewood, NJ. A certified Christian educator who has served churches in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for the past 30 years, Boyer is a graduate of of Union Theological Seminary/Presbyterian School of Christian Education. She has written curriculum for We Believe, as well as articles for Horizons magazine.

The WEEKEND course, Friday evening August 12 through Saturday  August 13, will be taught by Sharol Hayner, an engaging, creative, and well-respected Bible teacher. Hayner, who holds a master’s degree in divinity from Columbia Seminary, has served as Pastor for Discipleship at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.

Both courses take place in the Harrington Center on the Columbia Seminary campus.
For details, fees, and online registration, click here and scroll down to the event date.