First Press Express Second Edition Out Now

cover of first press express with headshot of Pastor Johanna and banner image of stained glass

The latest edition of First Press Express is out now. Read the opening session notes from Pastor Johanna below or click here to download the full edition.

Session Notes from Pastor Johanna

Last session meeting we took some time to consider how three of Israel’s stories – Abraham’s call, Exodus and the stories surrounding the Davidic monarchy – may have impacted the Israelites’ experience of themselves while they were in exile in Babylon. Here’s what we discussed:

  • How Abraham’s story might have reminded the Israelites that they were the descendants of someone who really knew how to trust God and take big risks, to leave home for someplace new and in the process, become a blessing to this world’s people.
  • How Exodus might have taught them that they had escaped slavery before – and could do so again with God’s help.
  • How David’s dynasty – with all its moral shortcomings – could have brought home to them an important lesson about the degree to which they had contributed to the situation in which they now found themselves, namely, subject to a foreign power.

We then turned to the kinds of stories churches tend to tell about themselves – to themselves – and whether these are helpful or not. In particular, we discussed the impact stories about once glorious pasts can have on churches looking to find new ways of doing ministry during radically different times.

Our sense at the end of this conversation was that we could learn a lot from Israel and the stories it chose to tell as we too wanted to be risk-takers, blessings, and people who know both liberation and responsibility.