Roberta Smith shares insights from a snap survey she made of a handful of people from different groups studying the Lent course, ‘Rebuilding the Ruins.’

What are you enjoying about your Lent Group this year?: “This Lenten study is quite different from previous books and I found I enjoyed learning more of the Old Testament.”

“The extra that our leader provides – the background and personal knowledge through travel to the Holy Land.”

“I’m enjoying the resources that we are using, meeting together and getting to discuss really relevant issues, with a biblical context. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a challenging and current resource before.”

What resonated with you?: “The Abbess Hilda was respected and built the Christian religion in England while the prophets, in their various places and times were strong supporters of religious matters. Just reading their names reminded me of my grandmother, her big Bible and telling us about them!”

“Puts prophets into their historical context.”

“The issues raised by the prophets are not new and this is very important for us, particularly for people new to faith or younger members. Before and after The Exile – which is also so true of many ethnic groups who have been displaced from homeland and long to return.”

“I’ve really enjoyed reading about the prophets as it’s not a part of the Bible that I read a lot so this study makes them really assessable, and applies it to our current context.”

“I’m reading Jeremiah (as part of liturgical year) anyway so it’s an extra bonus to have passages explained in detail.”

“The Pharisees and teachers of the time followed tradition – making it about culture rather than faith.”

“The prophets point to our own need for similar change e.g. climate change.”

“The story of the Naenae development and the resulting discussion.”

Did you feel challenged?: “Yes, I feel that I’ve learnt a lot and am being challenged. The title ‘Rebuilding the Ruins’ is thought provoking as is each study which brings the old and modern together. The ruins – housing, bicultural, creation, Church – and then rebuilding.”

“Challenging is the wrong word for me. This course is confirming and extending what I already knew.”

“I’ve been challenged as a Christian, and I think I have space to grow on that after being challenged.  I’ve had to reflect on my own responsibility and how I react to the issues going on in our country and in our world.”

How Would You Like to Conclude?: “I think the writers have written a great book for discussion and look forward to a similar one for next year’s challenge. We are not called to do everything, but we are called to do something.”

“Some Lent courses are very introspective but this is focused on broader issues.”

“Do I feel I have grown as a Christian? The growth will come with action.”