Telling the Story 2010: The Old Testament Prophets
Telling the Story returned for a fourth season, this time devoted to the Old Testament Prophets. Musicians, readers, and biblical scholars worked together over five sessions to explore the stories of Elijah and Micaiah, Amos, Hosea, 1 Isaiah, and Micah.
Abigail Young explored the stories of Elijah and the lesser-known Micaiah, two of the earliest prophets known to us. Their stories were brought into sharper focus through the music of Leonard Cohen. Like our own age, the time of these prophets was often violent, bloody, and uncertain and yet it provided through the institution of prophecy itself the sort of crack that light can get in – all qualities that Cohen captures in his poetry.
The series continued with Old Testament scholar and Redeemer parishioner Dr. Judith Newman presenting her reflections on the prophet Amos.
Unlike the stories about his contemporaries Elijah and Miciah, who operated in the oral tradition, the eighth century prophet Amos is known as the first prophet whose teaching was collected in writing.
His prophetic message comes not only through the immediacy of oracles and visions, but through accumulated reflections on the prophetic word over centuries.
Amos is known for his unrelenting focus on social justice in the face of gross economic inequity. He also introduces the idea of "the Day of the Lord", a cosmic day of divine intervention in human affairs. In spite of its notes of apocalyptic hyperbole, Amos ends on a note of reassurance that the people would once again live on their land in peace and fertility.
Jean Bubba was our story-teller, Andrew Asbil offered reflections, and Mike Daley and friends played Blue Rodeo as we explored what the prophet Hosea was saying in a particular time and place and how that message could be reflected in our life today.
The ancient prophets were consummate storytellers. In the 8th century BCE, Isaiah of Jerusalem was telling Judah its story. He plumbed the lingering depths of the narrative tradition of the Israelite people, and presented their story to them in terms of their contemporary, so that they could hear and understand what God had in store for them.
Chris Jones examined what the prophet had to say to his people in his own time, and suggested how we might use his explosive visions to be what God is calling us to be in the present age.
"The prophetic word in history is human utterance about God unintimidated by modernity, unimpressed by excessive religion,... daring to insist that this God who works wonders in the historical process is still at large, liberating and healing." -Walter Brueggemann, Texts that Linger, Words that Explode
We joined Liska Stefko for the final session of Telling the Story which wove together the prophetic words of Micah (8th century BCE) with the conscience-stirring music of Woody Guthrie (20th century CE). Both were small town boys who grew up to speak truth to big city power. Outspoken social critics, they called attention to economic practices that exploited the land and governing structures that dominated the vulnerable. They called people to take action that would lead to justice for all. With Micah and Woody as our guides, our journey took us from ancient Israel to the Toronto G20 and all the way to the Gulf Stream waters.
The study of Old Testament prophets introduced in the 2010 Telling the Story series continued with After the Story. The following themes were explored:
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