12th Assembly 2009

Assembly told to go out and thirst

The third Bible study at the 12th Assembly meeting focused on Jesus’ words from the cross, “I thirst”.

After watching an excerpt from the 1989 film Romero, based on the life of El Salvadorian Archbishop Oscar Romero, Assembly Bible study leaders the Rev. Dr Elizabeth Raine and the Rev. Dr John Squires reflected on the meaning of Jesus’ words in relation to the Assembly theme Living Water, Thirsty Land.

Assembly members were asked to reflect on the dangerous life of discipleship modelled by Jesus. They were reminded that each book of the gospel, despite carrying some of the same stories, should be read separately so as not to confuse the narrative.

Dr Raine said in the book of Luke Jesus’ final day portrays him with serene calm.

Dr Squires reflected on the contrast of Luke’s portrayal of Jesus to the way he was depicted in Mark and Matthew when he said, “My God, why have you abandoned me?”

And so the phrase, “It is finished”, which Jesus spoke from the cross, has multiple meanings.

“In Greek it is one work with many layers,” said Dr Raine.

‘It is finished’ can also be translated to mean ‘it is fulfilled’ or ‘it is accomplished’.

There are many statements in John’s Gospel that have more than one meaning.

Dr Squires said there were many “deliberate misunderstandings” of Jesus’ stories.

It was said that Thomas Keneally’s poem I Thirst was inspired by the deeper sense of the thirst of Jesus.

“‘I thirst’ is a passionate plea, a declaration of all that Jesus has been doing in the world,” said Dr Raine.

“Jesus utters a cry for the whole world: a cry for peace in the world.”

Assembly members were encouraged to go out and thirst with passion.