With the feast of the Epiphany
coming up tomorrow it's useful to turn our attention to the Three Wise
Men. I get a few RE classes out of this topic every January when school
restarts. What I like about the Three Wise Men topic is that it gives
me a chance the deal with themes of journey, searching, finding, idealism,
epiphany and gift. And there are so many useful resources out there. I
use the relevant clip from BBC's Liverpool Nativity - when the
Wise Men, in modern dress, visit the crib singing the Beatles' Lady Madonna!
(see the clip here).
With the latest version of Real Player or any YouTube downloader software
this can be downloaded for use in class. There are more conventional portrayals
in Jesus of Nazareth, The Nativity Story and other films
on the life of Jesus.
The Nativity Story is available on YouTube - the Wise Men
figure intermittently - see clip over for their arrival. T.S. Eliot's
of the Magi is the best-known
poem about them, though Godfrey Rust (in his collection Breaking the
Chains) cheekily continues this poem, imagining the Magi travelling
through modern England where people are "slumped on sofas by four o' clock/rendered
senseless by too much dead poultry"! The Roches have a rather quirky version
of the song We Three Kings on their album of the same name, but
if you'd prefer a traditional treatment try John Michael Talbot's haunting
version on his Birth of Jesus album.
Jennifer Avalon has a modern
reflective version with a variety of accompanying visuals - see over.
The Magi have also appealed to artists down through the ages and an internet
image search will throw up lots of examples - I've compiled some of these
in a Powerpoint presentation which I can send on request (use contact
Happy New Year to all and best wishes to religion teachers for the new
saw loads of interesting material on TV over Christmas, hard to keep up
with it all. Watched a video of the absorbing film The Apostle,
starring Robert Duvall in a tour de force portrayal of a fiery preacher
in the Deep South of the USA. His character is intriguing if not entirely
appealing. Old style preaching is his life, but he is also a womaniser
and prone to violence, yet conscious at times of his sinfulness. After
beating up his wife's new boyfriend he has to escape and sets up a church
in a new location, making a new life for himself, but temporarily. As
I watched I wondered if I could use any of this in religion class - there's
a brief scene early on where he prays to God in his bedroom, which is
restrained enough, and a sequence where he drives around in his bus gathering
worshippers for a service. The many extended preaching sequences might
be useful as a study in cultural context, though our students might just
find it all very weird. I find they often lament the tameness in Irish
liturgical events, compared to the American style black gospel approach,
but I'd say this might cure them! Still, it's always good to see a meaty
religious film that takes its subject seriously.