This Ash Wednesday, the McGrath Institute for Church Life will launch a free online course entitled “Journey with The Saint John’s Bible.” Each of six units will be released throughout the weeks of Lent, providing participants with a journey through Scripture, art, and practices of prayer both ancient and new.
The first unit consists of six videos—each clocking in at around 15 minutes or less—providing a foundational introduction to the manuscript tradition, The Saint John's Bible itself, and the prayer practices of lectio and visio divina. The remaining five units will each include four videos. One video will explore an illumination from The Saint John's Bible, another will unpack the Scripture passage it depicts, and the remaining two will provide guided experiences of lectio and visio divina.
The course will be led by professors from Notre Dame’s theology department and Medieval Institute, as well as faculty and staff from the McGrath Institute itself. There are no assigned readings. There is no homework. There are no online discussions, though several communities have indicated their intention to stream the videos in a group setting to encourage conversation and fellowship, so questions for discussion and reflection will be provided in the course platform.
At a basic level, the course is meant to provide a rich fare of food for thought, nourishing the imaginations of those who participate. At a more profound level, it is intended to offer a way for people to deepen their relationship with God. The goal of the course is not simply to introduce people to The Saint John's Bible as a work of scriptural art, or to its beautiful illuminations; the goal is to show them how art can enrich one’s understanding of Scripture, how Scripture can come to life in a beautiful way through visual art, and, perhaps most importantly, how praying with both art and especially Scripture can lead to an encounter with the Word of God, the Word who “was in the beginning with God” (John 1:2), the Word through whom “all things came to be” (John 1:3), the Word who “became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14).
To learn more and enroll in our free online course, visit our website.
Featured image of The Saint John's Bible Heritage Edition courtesy of Saint John's University, Collegeville, MN. Used with permission. All rights reserved.