Who is Jesus Christ today?
All this year, we’ve been asking Jesus’ question: “Who Do You Say that I Am?” This is the question Jesus asks his disciples at Caesarea Philippi, in the midst of conflicting reports about who he was and what he had come to do (Cf. Matthew 16.15). From the beginning, we’ve tried to make Christ in our own image, re-casting his identity and mission as mirror images of who we are and what we want from the world. Yet, time and time again, in the 21st century as much as in the 1st century, Jesus presses us to dig deeper. He asks us not to settle for convenient or superficial interpretations of his person and work, and challenges us to hear his voice–authentic and true.
As I’ve said a few times throughout this year, I truly believe that when the church has gotten off course, it’s because we’ve misunderstood Jesus. Conversely, if we can get Jesus right, I’m confident we will get everything else right as well. So, we’ve aimed to take this first year together to wrestle with Jesus’ question, and set the foundation for the years to come. The parish retreat got us started, as we looked at three of the earliest Christian texts that witnessed to who Christ is. We’ve also taken some of the high moments of the church calendar to look at different aspects of Jesus’ identity. And, we’ve just concluded a four month walk with Jesus–through his life and ministry, passion, death, and resurrection–through the Gospel of John.
At various points, we’ve also turned to the wisdom of other Christians throughout church history. Last Fall, for example, we heard from a few voices from the Christian tradition, in a series entitled “Christ through the Ages.” This Easter, as a complement to that study, we will take five weeks to explore “Christ for Today.” During this series, we will look at some 20th and 21st century voices who have offered new interpretations of who Jesus is, including a few who have emerged right here in New York City.
The schedule for this series is below. We’ll be joined by a very special guest on May 3rd–Dr. Reggie Williams, of McCormack Theological Seminary. You can read more about him below as well.
1. April 26th–The Humanity of God (Karl Barth)
2. May 3rd–Bonhoeffer’s Black Christ (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
**with Dr. Reggie Williams
3. May 10th–God of the Oppressed (James Cone)
4. May 17th–White Women’s Christ, Black Women’s Jesus (Womanist Christology)
5. May 24th–Christ, the Heart of Creation (Rowan Williams)
Dr. Reggie Williams
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics
McCormack Theological Seminary
Dr. Reggie Williams book Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance (Baylor University Press, 2014) was selected as a Choice Outstanding Title in 2015, in the field of religion. The book is an analysis of exposure to Harlem Renaissance intellectuals, and worship at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist on the German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, during his year of post-doctoral study at Union Seminary in New York, 1930-31.
Dr. Williams’ research interests include Christological ethics, theological anthropology, Christian social ethics, the Harlem Renaissance, race, politics and black church life. His current book project includes a religious critique of whiteness in the Harlem Renaissance. In addition, he is working on a book analyzing the reception of Bonhoeffer by liberation activists in apartheid South Africa.
Dr. Williams received his Ph.D. in Christian ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary in 2011. He earned a Master’s degree in Theology from Fuller in 2006 and a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Westmont College in 1995. He is a member of the board of directors for the Society for Christian Ethics, as well as the International Dietrich Bonhoeffer Society. He is also a member of the American Academy of Religion and Society for the Study of Black Religion.
On Sunday mornings, prior to our 10 AM livestream worship, parishioner Jen Knight is leading a contemplative prayer group via Zoom. This is a rich time of slowing down, stilling our hearts, and attending to the loving presence of God that surrounds us. For those looking for new ways to connect with God and one another, we invite you to join.
To participate in the Sunday 9am Contemplative prayer group via Zoom, register here: https://forms.gle/w1SxVuwHMtF4C4xY7
Expanding Our We
Sundays @ 3:45 PM on Zoom
email firstname.lastname@example.org to register
It’s not too late to join us for this great class, led by our “Scholar-in-Residence,” the Rev. Dr. Courtney Bryant. Things got off to a great start last week, as we discussed whether we were “Maximalists” or “Minimalists” in our understanding of God. Our study continues this week with a discussion on Christian Community and “The Power of Privilege.” If you missed it, and still want to join, e-mail email@example.com for last week’s slide show presentation and to register for the coming weeks.
As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have introduced a new way for us to connect and support each other: prayer pods. For more information on these new “prayer pods,” see the video message from Carolyn Carney below.
Family Magic Show!
Matias Letelier–Illusionist, Magician, and All Angels’ member–is offering a magic show for kids and families this Wednesday, 4/22, at 6:30 PM on Zoom. He’ll even reveal the secret behind some of his magic!
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81165605875
Meeting ID: 811 6560 5875