Lenten Study 2022: Questioning Our Grip on the CrossLenten Study 2022: Questioning Our Grip on the CrossLENTEN STUDY 2022:

Questioning Our

Grip on the Cross

This Lenten Study has been prepared for use in study groups at Blackwood Uniting Church and other interested groups. It is hoped that engaging with this study series will, in some small way, lead to a deepening of understanding and an enlivening of personal faith.

The cross of Jesus is the central symbol of the Christian faith. So regularly is the cross referred to in hymns, songs, scripture, prayers and in physical symbols within our churches that it has become “the water in which we swim” as followers of Jesus. The cross has become the accepted and unquestioned reality of the Christian faith. Herein lies the problem. When something is completely unquestioned, there is no inclination to examine the presuppositions behind it; instead it is simply accepted without scrutiny. This study, Questioning Our Grip on the Cross, is an invitation to explore and examine our own presuppositions surrounding the cross of Jesus.

The title of the study deliberately incorporates a double-meaning: a willingness to question how tightly we cling to the cross and why; and also a willingness to question our logical and emotional grip on, or understanding of, the cross. It is my hope that a willingness to examine and subject to scrutiny previously unexamined presuppositions around the cross may help lead us, ultimately, to a deeper and richer faith.

It is my view that Christian practices, including engaging in studies such as this, are valuable insofar as they contribute to our change and growth as human beings, better enabling us to engage positively with the world, and lovingly and compassionately with those around us. Whether this study contributes in such a way remains to be seen, but…one lives in hope!

A word about the reflection questions that accompany each study. Please consider these as suggestive, rather than prescriptive. They are not questions which I’m expecting you to answer like it’s some sort of exam! Some of the questions I have raised may be questions that also come to your mind. Some questions may not have occurred to you, and you may deem them worthy of exploration. Other questions may have no interest or relevance to you at all.

To the extent that the questions are helpful in facilitating discussion in your group, or sparking your own thoughts, use them. Otherwise consider them of no account.

Study documents and YouTube videos

Study participants have two ways in which they can engage with the study materials. Firstly, there are the printed studies, which are also available as downloadable PDF documents that can be viewed on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Secondly, there are YouTube videos for each of the seven studies. It is hoped that these two study media will complement each other, but either can be used separately too.

How each group approaches the study is, of course, up to them. I would anticipate, however, that it may be helpful for a study group to first watch together the YouTube video for the particular week’s study, and then discuss the study, using the printed/PDF study notes as a reference. The links to the downloadable PDF files and to the YouTube videos can be found here.

I hope that you appreciate this study series Questioning Our Grip on the Cross.

Michael Dowling
Minister, Blackwood Uniting Church
Email: minister@blackwooduc.org.au


Lenten Study / Week Study Documents (PDF) YouTube Videos
1: Making sense of the world. Making sense of God. Lenten Study 2022 – Study 1 https://youtu.be/GMvyPJuWyW4
2: What would you be prepared to do to keep the cross?
Lenten Study 2022 – Study 2 https://youtu.be/r1s4KPVUkyE
3: What to do with a Crucified Messiah?
Lenten Study 2022 – Study 3 https://youtu.be/vP5ZsZhLknA
4: The “Solution” to the Problem of the Cross: Fall-Salvation Theology
Lenten Study 2022 – Study 4 https://youtu.be/4Kqc_HEtc5o
5: What exactly did Jesus’ death on the cross “do”?
Lenten Study 2022 – Study 5 https://youtu.be/mPziRoGxiEI
6: Time to get personal: Jesus and you.
Lenten Study 2022 – Study 6 https://youtu.be/nzqWc0n6vt8
7: Resurrecting the Way of Jesus
Lenten Study 2022 – Study 7 https://youtu.be/fSr9AzbqpJc

Those of you who are leading a group, please click this link if you would like to download the Leaders’ Guide:
Lenten Study 2022 – Leaders Guide (click to download the PDF)