'Meeting Point' Magazine
In this double issue I want write a bit about a question that took me by surprise. I was once asked the question “what is the central point of the Christian faith?” I wished they had asked me something about the church or liturgy. We had just gone through the Easter season ending in the Ascension. Last Sunday was the feast of Pentecost. Getting one’s bearings on the Christian year with all the calculations and tables is complex. However, one can at least attempt to answer it using prayer books and be concrete in one’s answer. To answer this question fully we will run a faith explored course called the Alpha Course in the autumn. However, I will attempt to whet your appetite and recommend a book that I read every four to five years. I also give it away lot and often run out of copies. Perhaps you have seen the banners for the course in other churches?
“What is the central point of the Christian faith?”; where do I begin? Yet without thinking too much, immediately C.S. Lewis, the author of the Chronicles of Narnia, came to mind. He wrote a book called Mere Christianity. It wasn’t written as a book but as a series of radio addresses C. S. Lewis delivered during WW2. Lewis was himself as a young man in the trenches of World War 1. Mere Christianity was born out of his involvement in WW2 in which he was an air raid warden. He also gave talks to young men in the Royal Air Force; most of them would have been declared dead or missing just after a dozen or so bombings. He knew first-hand human suffering and the plight of humanity, even at the most advanced generation of humanity (arguably at the time). I am fan of Lewis – not just because of his understanding of human nature, or even his academic credentials (taught English at both Oxford and Cambridge) but mostly his ability to simplify the most complex of ideas. C.S. Lewis puts it plainly in Mere Christianity. He says, “We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself. That is the formula.”
Christianity is anchored on the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is not a mere symbol or myth – a Jesus who neither actually died physically nor one who truly entered or conquered any grave! The Apostle Paul, in I Corinthians 15 states that “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile”.
However according to C.S. Lewis the heart of Christianity is a myth in a literary sense, but it is also a fact. Of course he was well familiar with the subject: he studied Greek, Latin and English literature not to mention Philosophy and Ancient history. He states in an essay titled “Myth Became Fact”: “The old myth of the dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history.” Myth becomes uncharacteristic when it happens in history at a date, in a place, followed by measurable historical consequences. Mere myth is not shown in history, it is a good read and appeals to our imagination but the Creed we repeat almost every Sunday states “And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures”. If Christianity is myth, then it nevertheless is historical myth.
Christ, God from God, true God from true God, begotten not made, at one with the Father, who physically died and was mightily – bodily – resurrected. That is the central theme of the Christian faith. It is not Christmas! Christmas is incidental. Christ had to be born of human flesh. However, he wasn’t born just to be born as human or merely to identify with humanity but to die in our place as a human. He became human to rescue us from the dominion of sin. He became human to grant us forgiveness.
If you wanted a good summer read, I can recommend Mere Christianity. It wasn’t written in peace time. It is a book grounded in the reality of suffering yet offers the risen Christ as the answer to that suffering.
In the autumn (end of September or the beginning of October – watch this space!) we will be running a course on understanding the Christian faith. It is called the Alpha Course. Many people have found this a very helpful venture, both veteran and novice Christian alike. Those sceptical, doubtful, exploring and the merely curious have found it even more helpful.
Hope to see you there! We will soon be advertising the start date and venue!
Blessings and hope you get hold of a copy of Mere Christianity!
News from Totternhoe Academy
Our Mission Statement
We, at Totternhoe CE Academy, strive for excellence in education by providing a safe, secure, caring family environment, where all are valued and respected as individuals, enabling them to reach their full potential, whilst growing in their love and understanding of the Christian Faith.
Our Value this half term is Respect. We can show respect by:
- Speaking politely to others
- Listening when others are talking
- Treating property with respect
We are now back in the final half of the summer term. The year has certainly flashed by, and we have much to look forward to this half term.
We were delighted to welcome Mr Stewart Seymour from the Leighton Linslade Schools Sports Partnership, to open the newly refurbished trim-trail. A HUGE thank you to all contributors: the PA (£9000 was put forward by them from the Co-op community fund), the School Trust Fund (£1000 donation), Mr Brown, a parent, £300 raised by a charity bike ride. The rest of the money was funded by a sugar tax grant and our PE sports funding money. Mr Seymour and Mr Brown had the honour of cutting the ribbon. The children really appreciate this wonderful addition to the playground, encouraging even more active playtimes. We are extremely grateful to everyone for this major project.
We have welcomed parents in to school for ‘Watch Me Learn’ sessions in all classes. Year 1 parents had a wonderful time participating in the Year 1 music lesson, and have had their appetites whetted for the end of term Year 2 concert.
Year 4 have begun their Forest school sessions, bravely facing huge rain downpours during their first session! They showed off their fire-lighting skills to their parents, who were also keen to have a go!
We look forward to our annual Artsweek, later in June, this year with a focus on developing skills in Design and Technology.
Each class had opportunity to develop their musical theatre skills, taking part in musical theatre workshops run by Premier Education, running throughout the day on Thursday 2nd May.
The theme of ‘The Greatest Showman’ proved very popular and the enjoyment and fun was evident on each child’s face!
They each took part in some warm up activities such as moving around the room in different ways and then learnt a small piece of choreography to one of the songs from ‘The Greatest Showman’, and of course they were allowed to sing!
Preparations are in hand for our own end of year musical production, ‘Peace Child’, and singing practices are well under way!
Our children are all preparing for the changes ahead with children moving to new classes, with new teachers, and some of our Years 4s moving on to new schools. We are very excited about those Year 4s continuing their learning journey with us at Totternhoe, as our first Year 5 cohort!
The calendar is full with visits and many activities: inter-house, whole school and inter-school sporting events (we are praying for some fine weather!); Cherry class visit planned to Ashridge, linked to their topic of explorers; and Year 4s are looking forward to their residential visit to Dell Farm at the beginning of July.
The Leavers’ service at St Giles’ on 19th July will be an occasion for our Year 4 leavers to celebrate their time at Totternhoe and for us to wish them every success as they move on to middle schools.
We hope that all our children, families and staff enjoy a restful and relaxing summer break, and we look forward to a brand new start in September!
Happy holidays, all!
For further information about the school and to keep up to date with what’s going on, please have a look at our website:
If you are interested in having a closer association with the school as it continues on its journey as part of the Diocese of St Albans Multi-Academy Trust, we would very much like to hear from you! We currently have vacancies for Academy Council members (formerly ‘Governors’) with a keen interest in supporting the work of the school and championing its cause in the community. Please do get in touch if this is an area that interests you.
D Mitchelmore/O Bates