sense making faith
Using our senses to encounter God
In the series of Sundays leading through Lent and into Easter 2009, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI), in conjunction with BBC Radio 4 and Local Radio, offered this course on encountering God through our physical senses (including the gift of our human imagination).
Each Sunday, there was a focus on a particular sense: sight, imagination, smell, touch, taste, and hearing. The course is based on a beautifully illustrated CTBI publication Sense Making Faith: Body, Spirit, Journey and its accompanying website www.spiritualjourneys.org.uk which contains a wealth of additional related materials for you to explore, download and enjoy.
Lent 2009 resources
On the Sense Making Faith web pages for Lent 2009 (www.sensemakingfaith.org.uk), you can download resources to accompany each of the radio programmes. The purpose of the material is to allow you to begin to reflect on what God has given us through our senses and how we can use them to deepen our faith and to share it with others. The radio programmes on the Sundays in Lent, and during the week, offered worship and reflection on the sense theme of the week. This set the scene for your own exploration of the resources and you could then use the materials to choose how you wanted to do this. Alternatively, you could study the resource in advance and use the radio programmes to gather up your thoughts in the time of worship.
Each resource has five sections and you can mix and match the sections as you wish, either by working through all the sections or focussing on one of them, such as the prayers or bible study.
The format is as follows:
- Some opening thoughts on the gift of a particular physical sense together with an activity to help explore it. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, wrote a series of short reflective poems for Sense Making Faith and these are included in this section to stimulate thought and discussion.
- Some thoughts on what it is like not to have that particular sense, or by a reflection on the shadow side of the sense in question. There are also questions and activities to explore.
- A Bible study on the main reading of the Sunday radio programme providing a point of contact with it, by trying to look at scripture differently.
- What Jesus might have experienced during his time in the wilderness, with questions for discussion.
- Suggestions for prayer and reflection.
Each resource also offers more suggestions for reading, thought-provoking video clips and useful websites. There are additional materials for use on St David's Day and Mothering Sunday as both of these fall within Lent and may be used in place of, or additional to, the main resources if preferred.
You can use the material here if you are an individual following the course week by week or if you are leading a group. The book Sense Making Faith also has resources for use by both individuals and groups and you can download the group sessions in various formats from www.spiritualjourneys.org.uk if you prefer.