The Rev. Dr. Margaret Aymer, Associate Professor of New Testament at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, preached the closing sermon at the 2010 Presbyterian Peacemaking Seminar. Bethany Furkin of the Presbyterian News service writes about the sermon at Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – News & Announcements – ‘Knit together’.
The story begins:
When it comes to translations, much depends on the choices of the translator, said the Rev. Margaret Aymer.
She was speaking at the Peacemaking Seminar, held at New Mexico's Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center Aug. 25-28. During the conference, participants studied Ephesians 4: 1-16 in small groups. Aymer focused on one verse from the passage, which states "But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from who the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love." (Eph 4: 15-16)
Aymer focused on the phrase "knit together," noting that it is strange for Greeks to have thought in the context of knitting. Why not "joined," "tied" or "woven"? Why "knit"?
While it might have been strange for Greeks, it was fitting for the participants in the seminar. They explored using a variety of art media to tell peacemaking stories and to engage in peacemaking – including knitting.
Noting that knitting is not a common Greek word, Dr. Aymer noted that knitting is a contextual word that describes the reality of the body of Christ and shapes our ministries as peacemakers.
"We're not called to uniformity. We are called to be linked into the body," she said. "We are called to hold on to one another."
Noting that every generation must translate for its context, she suggested that a future translation of the Ephesians passage might use, instead of "knitting," the word "networking" to express what it means to be ligaments in Christ's body.
On Thursday morning, Dr. Aymer, presented the model of Contextual Bible Study, which has been developed at the Ujamaa Centre for Biblical and Theological Community Development and Research, in the School of Religion and Theology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. After her presentation, participants had the opportunity to practice the study model.
The photo is by David Young and shows the Rev. Dr. Margaret Aymer leading a debriefing of the Contextual Bible Study experience.