At first glance, Manna and Mercy looks like a book of Bible stories for children. With its handwritten text and childish illustrations, you might buy it for a children's Sunday school class. And that would be great—its message is for all ages. But you'd be cheating yourself if you didn't read it cover to cover. Its childlike appearance only underscores the depth of its message.
Lutheran minister Daniel Erlander, a New Testament scholar, wrote Manna and Mercy as a guide through scripture—Genesis to Revelation—interpreted through the lens of the life and teaching of Jesus. As Christians, Erlander believes, it's only fitting to approach the entire Bible in this way. Rev. Alan Storey, a South African United Methodist pastor, used the book to develop the retreat as a way to share its message of social justice.
The North Alabama Conference Adult Discipleship Team is sponsoring a Manna and Mercy Retreat October 24-26 at Camp Sumatanga to laity and clergy interested in this unique approach to Bible study. The Board of Ordained Ministry has approved 1.5 CEU for pastors who attend, and the retreat is approved as an advanced course for certified lay speakers by the Lay Servant Ministry Team. Click here to read more about the retreat.
"The hope in teaching this course to pastors and lay speakers is that it would be a way for them to teach strong Biblical scholarship to their congregations in very accessible ways," said Rev. R.G. Lyons, retreat leader. "Manna and Mercy relies heavily on the work of Bible scholarship but presents it in a way that folks without a seminary background can understand. For pastors, Manna and Mercy is a great resource not only for their own study, but also how to teach some of the things they learned in seminary to lay people in a very accessible way."
Manna and Mercy shows us that God's abundant love (manna) is sufficient for the whole of creation, and that God's love through Jesus Christ (mercy) can still save our broken world and can still save us.