United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough

General

07.11.2018

Archbishop of Dublin Attends Diocesan Synod of the Diocese of Jerusalem

Archbishop of Dublin Attends Diocesan Synod of the Diocese of Jerusalem
The Opening Service of the Diocesan Church Council Meeting at The Redeemer’s Church in Amman on Monday. (Photo: Noursat Network Jordan via the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.)

Archbishop Michael Jackson is currently attending the synod of the Diocese of Jerusalem at the invitation of Archbishop Suheil Dawani. The United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough and the Diocese of Jerusalem have a partnership link and Archbishop Jackson delivered a Bible study at their synod in Amman, Jordan, yesterday.

The Archbishop chose as his text Galatians 5.22: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. If we live by the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit.” He said these words are used as the introduction to The Peace in the Church of Ireland at Pentecost and at the opening of a Synod.

“They are the words through which we offer to one another life in the Spirit of God on earth as it is in heaven. A Synod is not a School Debating Society; neither again is it a Take Away where you order up work for other people to do; nor again is it an AGM of disgruntled shareholders. It is the place where you share your discipleship with the discipleship of others; where together you pledge to make new neighbours and to seek out forgotten neighbours. It is above all the place where you listen and look for the descending of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

The Archbishop added: “Our mission is to fill our churches and our communities with love, joy, peace. We are called to do so within the world created by God. We are called to do so through the gift of grace entrusted to us as the coinage of humanity and goodness. We are to spend and to be spent; we are to love and to be loved; we are to live and walk in the Spirit with an attitude of justice and compassion, adventure and attentiveness, grace and mercy. These days together give us the chance to kindle once more the flame given to us for nurture and for sharing”.

 

You can read the full text of the Bible study below:

Bible Study for the Synod of the Diocese of Jerusalem, held in Amman, Jordan, and offered on Tuesday November 6 2018

The Most Reverend Dr Michael Jackson, archbishop of Dublin and bishop of Glendalough

Galatians 5.22: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. If we live by the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit.

 

THE SCRIPTURES

The reason that The Scriptures are important to us is that they give us a very broad and deep picture of who we are as Children of God. Today we have separated The Scriptures into three parts: Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel in our worship. There are good reasons for this. The Old Testament gives us a good sense of what it is to be a spiritual people, a Godly nation; The Epistles give us a good sense of what it is to be an emerging church, a group of people with freedom and with problems; The Gospels give us a good sense of what it is for the earthly Jesus Christ to walk among us once again, to address us directly, to heal us tangibly and to lead us, his sheep, gently and firmly as our Good Shepherd in the world.

Each and all of these enable us to hold together content and context. As Anglicans we need to embrace and to celebrate both: content and context: what our inheritance is, what our traditions and our visions are, along with where we live and who are the people among whom we live out this content entrusted to us by God. This is no dry and dusty academic exercise; this is the hard road of walking in the Spirit today – whoever we are, wherever we are. Both comfort and persecution bring very different challenges. Both of them need to be able to give account to God for faithfulness and for what the Letter to the Galatians calls: love, joy, peace. But always there is the sense that we are where we are because it is the purpose of God. Content and context make sense together right across salvation history. In the right context, survival is every bit as important  – and often more important – as success. Shared content enables us to pray and to cry out to God for the salvation of the other. For people who live in this particular area of the world, the Diocese of Jerusalem and The Middle East, the distinction is often hard to draw and even harder to sustain between content and context. You have a unique calling as Living Stones.  

THE EPISTLES AND GALATIANS

One of the interesting things about The Epistles is that they are answers to questions we no longer have. They are one–sided correspondence. Whoever the person writing The Letter is, that person is writing in response to questions received about specific issues and about particular circumstances in communities growing up fast across the whole of The Mediterranean Region. Their context is constantly challenging their content, and this is also the case for us today. It is always interesting and illuminating for me, and a significant privilege, to read and to hear The Epistles with people who live in The Land of The Holy One and by The Mediterranean Sea. This is the place of original context and this is the place of original content of the early church. To those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, this is a vital connection with living stones by God appointed. The early communities grew up within and alongside the existing Jewish communities and they had no option but to work within the weave of the government, the judiciary and the social norms of The Roman Empire. After all, Jesus had done exactly the same in Palestine and in Jerusalem.

The Letter to the Galatians offers freedom in Christ Crucified and Risen from the dead. It courageously speaks directly into a situation where new and Gentile Christians are being bullied into accepting and undergoing circumcision. Paul, who himself has within his own personal tradition and experience all the Jewish credentials anyone might require, will have none of it! He throws open the windows and proclaims: Baptized into union with Christ Jesus, you have all put on Christ like a garment. There is no such thing as Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female; for you are all one person in Jesus Christ. So if you belong to Christ you are the ‘issue’ of Abraham and heirs by virtue of the promise. (Galatians 3.27–39)

In these few verses, St Paul seizes the content and changes the context. He ties together freedom, invitation, history and promise as God’s gift to The New Israel – that is to us.

THE SYNOD

We could delay longer in the text of The Epistle to the Galatians. I chose this short text:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. If we live by the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit in the hope that we might remember it and carry it with us in these days. These words are used as the words of introduction to The Peace in The Church of Ireland – for use on Pentecost and at the Opening of a Synod. They are the words through which we offer to one another life in the Spirit of God on earth as it is in heaven. A Synod is not a School Debating Society; neither again is it a Take Away where you order up work for other people to do; nor again is it an AGM of disgruntled shareholders. It is the place where you share your discipleship with the discipleship of others; where together you pledge to make new neighbours and to seek out forgotten neighbours. It is above all the place where you listen and look for the descending of the Holy Spirit as in that pivotal Scriptural content and in that definitive Scriptural context, the Jordan River:

As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens break open and the Spirit descend on him, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: You are my beloved Son; in you I take delight. (St Mark 1.10,11)

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to fill our churches and our communities with love, joy, peace. We are called to do so within the world created by God. We are called to do so through the gift of grace entrusted to us as the coinage of humanity and goodness. We are to spend and to be spent; we are to love and to be loved; we are to live and walk in the Spirit with an attitude of justice and compassion, adventure and attentiveness, grace and mercy. These days together give us the chance to kindle once more the flame given to us for nurture and for sharing.