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We concluded our July study evenings listening to a TED talk about the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel of Rome. It was fascinating. Curator Elizabeth Lev reminded how radically Michelangelo re-interpreted the Christian gospel with this art. Dispensing with the usual custom of setting biblical stories in a contemporary, 15th century Italian context, Michelangelo presented the human beings in a timelessly accessible manner, without clothes or scenery at all! Which is why, perhaps, 5 million 21st century human beings make the pilgrimage to see this ceiling every year. It speaks strong and deep across the ages. I would encourage you to take in the lecture yourself –

In the scene above, Adam lies languid – robust in physique but obviously without much energy or spirit, reclining, with his arm hanging limp upon his knee. The artist draws us into the expectation of that instant, when the Man receives the divine touch that makes life meaningful and deeply interesting. (And notice that Eve is not an after-thought of the Holy One, a mere help mate of the Man, but already fully formed and held lovingly in the other divine arm!)

As Christians, a scene like this leads us to think about the transformation of human life by the ‘touch’ of Christ. As we continue through Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we arrive this Sunday at his wonderful declaration ‘I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord’ (Philippians 3: 8). Knowing Christ transforms life, and even death.

Have a look at the order of service below, and join us if you are in the area!

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