Eleanor Lalley, Pastoral Associate, HeartStone Parish, Ainsdale and Southport Synod 2020 member
If you had to picture scripture study in your mind what would it look like? Perhaps you would imagine St Jerome in his cave praying and writing, or a university lecture with scratchings of Hebrew or Greek on a whiteboard, or maybe a group of people with their bibles open sitting around together… In the age of Coronavirus lockdown, HeartStone parish in Ainsdale has a new way to share scripture and it all happens online in a Zoom video chat.
Parishioners at Sacred Heart and St John Stone Churches – HeartStone parish – have been sharing prayer and discussion weekly around the Sunday Mass scriptures for years. Before lockdown this meant gathering together in person in the parish on a Wednesday night to read the next Sunday’s first, second and gospel readings. In the age of social distancing this has evolved to look a little different. People still meet on Wednesdays, but in their own home via computer, tablet or phone to read and reflect on Holy Scripture.
During lockdown, the Wednesday scripture group has been steadily growing in number as the word has gone out. Parishioners have encouraged other, less ‘techy’ people to sign up and join in – and even provided a sort of emergency tech support on the night when needed! Scripture sharing remains a group meditation on the Word of God and its meaning for us today. It begins with a short prayer and then a reading aloud from the gospel for the coming Sunday. People share their insights and thoughts about the gospel reading. Then if there is time reflection continues with the other readings.
In the time of coronavirus, social distancing and general crisis, scripture is speaking to us with a new voice. By gathering together weekly we can hear what God might be trying to say to us today, in our own homes and beyond. We can meet in a different way as Church and as Christians supporting one another. St Timothy wrote: all scripture is inspired by God and can be profitably used for… guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy. (2 Tim 3:16). At HeartStone our scripture sharing is guiding us through these challenging times to grow in faith and support each other.
What might sharing scripture with others do for you?