Vision 2020


He seeks out the wisdom of all the ancients, and is concerned with prophecies;
he preserves the sayings of the famous and penetrates the subtleties of parables;
he seeks out the hidden meanings of proverbs and is at home with the obscurities of parables.
He serves among the great and appears before rulers;
he travels in foreign lands and learns what is good and evil in the human lot.
He sets his heart to rise early to seek the Lord who made him, and to petition the Most High;
he opens his mouth in prayer and asks pardon for his sins.
If the great Lord is willing, he will be filled with the spirit of understanding;
he will pour forth words of wisdom of his own and give thanks to the Lord in prayer.
The Lord will direct his counsel and knowledge, as he meditates on his mysteries.
He will show the wisdom of what he has learned, and will glory in the law of the Lord’s covenant.
Many will praise his understanding; it will never be blotted out.
His memory will not disappear, and his name will live through all generations.
Nations will speak of his wisdom, and the congregation will proclaim his praise.
If he lives long, he will leave a name greater than a thousand, and if he goes to rest, it is enough for him.
(Sirach 39:1)

A Word of Welcome

Welcome to the Summer Scripture course titled Vision 2020: Faith into the Future. This course was originally planned to be an in-person event, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it moved online for the first time (and also drew in a large number of people as a result). The two videos below formed an introduction to the course back in 2020. In the first video, Kieran provides a short description of the course and the move to an online format. The second video is a recording of a webinar that took place on the day the course presentations went live (June 15th, 2020), and was aimed at opening the course with an introduction to each presenter and what they would look at in their six presentations along with some questions from attendees.

WelcomeShort Course Description

Webinar 1Introductions & Initial Discussion

Jesus as the Servant of God in Matthew's Gospel

"He Will Not Break a Bruised Reed nor Quench a Smouldering Wick"

Session One: The Culture & Context of Matthew

In this first presentation, Seán provides some introductory remarks on the culture and context of Matthew in order to prepare for a conversation on how we might discuss faith in our own context today.

Session Two: The Shape & Themes of the Gospel

In this second presentation, Seán pays particular attention to the shape and themes in Matthew to provide an overview of the Gospel before focusing on any specific texts.

Session ThreeJesus & the Kingdom in Word

In this third presentation, Seán begins to look at the Kingdom of Heaven which Jesus proclaims in word as can be seen in the Sermon on the Mount, particularly the opening Beatitudes of 5:3-10.

Session FourJesus & the Kingdom in Deed

In this fourth presentation, Seán continues looking at the Kingdom of Heaven as revealed through deeds such as miracles (Matthew 8-9), and how such actions speak of God and reflect Jesus's own faith in the Kingdom.

Session FiveJesus & his Kingdom Community

In this fifth presentation, Seán looks at how Jesus also came to gather disciples and initiate a community of faith that would take on board his view of Kingdom of Heaven.

Session SixJesus as the Servant of God

In this sixth and final presentation, Seán explores the portrayal of Jesus as the Servant of God and how this can be an inspiration for us who are living the Christian faith today. Text engaged with: Matthew 4:1-11.

Wisdom from the Old Testament Prophets for Living in the Light of the Future

"In The Days to Come..."

Session One: The Prophetic Call

In this first presentation, Jessie looks at what a prophet is and what they do, focusing in particular on prophetic call narratives such as the calls of Moses (Exodus 2:23-4:17), Isaiah (Isaiah 6), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-16), second Isaiah (Isaiah 49:1-6), and Paul (Galatians 1:13-17).

Session Two Exile & Beyond

In this second presentation, Jessie focuses on the Exile which while being the central crisis around which much of the Hebrew Bible revolves, it might also be similar to a contemporary reality for many people. The following texts are engaged with: Genesis 17:1-8, Exodus 19:2-6, Deuteronomy 28:1, Matthew 1, Jeremiah 22:1-23:8, 2 Kings 24:1-25:22,  and Psalms 44, 126, and 137.

Session ThreeProphetic View of Past, Present, & Future

In this third presentation, Jessie explores how the prophets use recollections of the past and predictions of the future as a way of inviting God's people to live more authentically in the now.

Session FourProphetic Ideas of Progress

In this fourth presentation, Jessie looks at how the beginning and ending of salvation history are imagined, first with the Garden of Eden and the New Jerusalem at the end, and how the prophets contribute to that journey.

Session FiveVisions of God's Glorious Future

In this fifth presentation, Jessie continues with the previous topic and the prophetic views of the future where the familiar line "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," will finally be answered.

Session SixEarth's Story in the Prophets

In this sixth and final presentation, Jessie explores the Earth as our common home in both the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic and how we need to pay attention to the "groans" of the excluded and overlooked, to whom God hears and responds.

Further Reading

Christian Authors:

Jewish Authors:

Cosmology & Christ in Colossians & Ephesians

"In Him All Things Are Held Together..."

Session One: Introduction to Our New Worldview

In this first presentation, Kieran introduces cosmology and how we might begin to talk about God with the new worldview that has arisen, and continues to do so, through the advances of science and our increasing understanding of the universe.

Session Two: Background to Christ & the Cosmos

In this second presentation, Kieran looks at the essential background of how Colossians and Ephesians would have been understood at the time of their writing, which means exploring their worldview. The following texts are interacted with: Proverbs 8:22-26, Sirach 24:1-9, Wisdom 7:22, 1 Corinthians 15:20-29, 42-49, 1 Enoch 48:2-6, 2 Enoch 19:1-4.

Session ThreeContext & Teaching in Colossians

In this third presentation, Kieran turns to the Letter to the Colossians and provides an overview of the text by looking at its background, authorship, and context.

Session FourChrist & the Cosmos in Colossians

In this fourth presentation, Kieran continues exploring the Letter to the Colossians, looking specifically at the "Christ Hymn" that is found in 1:15-20.

Session FiveContext & Teaching in Ephesians

In this fifth presentation, Kieran begins looking at the Letter to the Ephesians and provides an introductory overview of the text similarly to presentation four, although also noting some intriguing connections between Ephesians and Colossians along the way. 

Session SixChrist & the Cosmos in Ephesians

In this sixth and final presentation, Kieran continues exploring the Letter to the Ephesians, focusing here on the blessing prayer found at the beginning of the letter in 1:3-14.

Further Reading & Additional Resources

Further Reading


Webinar Recordings

Webinar 2Q&A on Seán's Presentations

Webinar 3Q&A on Jessie's Presentations

Webinar 4Q&A on Kieran's Presentations

Webinar 5Final Q&A with Seán, Jessie, & Kieran