The Art of Advent
Nov 23 @ 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm
The Art of Advent @ St Paul's Cathedral

Advent is the season when we prepare both for the birth of Jesus and for his return in glory. It invites us to journey with the people who prepared his way, from the Old Testament Prophets to Mary the mother of God, and also to contemplate the reality of our own ultimate meeting with God.  It is both a joyful and a serious season which challenges us to ask ourselves what really lies at the heart of our lives.

Jane Williams’ book The Art of Advent sheds new light on the season’s themes through art from all over the world, including masterpieces by Rembrandt, El Greco and Blake, 15th century Ethiopian frescoes and contemporary works from China, Australia and the UK. Considering how art can illuminate familiar themes and stories, we will explore paintings and the insights they offer into the theology and spirituality of Advent.

Dr Jane Williams is the Assistant Dean of St Mellitus College.  She is the author of academic and popular works of theology including The Art of Advent (SPCK 2018) and The Merciful Humility of God (Bloomsbury 2018).

God With Us: Seeing the Christmas Stories with Fresh Eyes w/@paulargooder
Nov 27 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
God With Us: Seeing the Christmas Stories with Fresh Eyes w/@paulargooder @ St Paul's Cathedral

The Christmas stories are some of the best-loved in the Bible but their familiarity can mask their real, mind-boggling message:  God comes to the world in a human body, in obscurity and vulnerability, and nothing is ever the same again.

In this evening, Paula Gooder, the renowned New Testament scholar, will unravel some of what these revolutionary stories really tell us.  What does it mean that the God who shaped the universe into existence was prepared to be born as a tiny, vulnerable baby in a dangerous time?  Why did God chose this ludicrously risky way to redeem the world?  And what does it mean that he trusted the whole plan to a young girl?

She will also explore what Jesus’ birth means for the powerful and the poor, then and now, and how we might come to these stories afresh, letting them reach our hearts and change our lives.

Dr Paula Gooder is one of the best-known New Testament scholars and teachers of our time, and Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, the first layperson to hold the role.  She is the author of numerous academic and popular books of Biblical theology, including Journey to the Manger: Exploring the Birth of Jesus and The Meaning is in the Waiting: The Spirit of Advent (both Canterbury Press).

The evening will be chaired by Andrew Carwood, Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral, and include plenty of time for questions and answers.