Book of the Month: February 2015

71wou7jyeQLThe Journey by John Pritchard

I sometimes find myself wishing I could hear the tone of voice in which Jesus spoke – especially to his disciples. Was “O ye of little faith” a rebuke – perhaps in the stentorian tones of the late Ian Paisley?  Or was it affectionate, understanding? After all, this was Peter …

John Pritchard’s latest book is ideal for people like me, as it uses what he calls “baptised imagination” to recreate the last journey to Jerusalem (from Luke 9.51 onwards) through the eyes of the beloved disciple, looking back on the most significant time of his life. A time when he was still young, still learning, confused sometimes but devoted to the man who taught him that God is always more than we can imagine. “I could trust my life to this God. And to the man I trusted more than any other to take me to him.”

Using John’s voice allows Pritchard to explain the background to things that Luke expected his readers to understand, like references to scripture or the complexities of temple politics, as well as sharing insights of his own. But it also helps us to see Jesus from a different perspective – including the embarrassment of the disciples when he abused his position as a dinner guest to lecture his hosts (“I’m surprised he was ever invited back, such was the controversy he sometimes caused”); the irritating way he left loose ends to his stories so they had to work them out for themselves; “how he sort of hummed with life”; his capacity for anger as well as love.

There is a story for each weekday of Lent, with a poem for each Saturday; Sundays are left free to reflect on the “I wonder questions” through which Pritchard encourages us to use our own baptised imaginations  – as well as taking us more deeply into areas of life and faith which we might sometimes hold back from exploring. Sundays may also be the time to go back to the biblical text, and read them afresh.

This a book you can read like a novel, or share with friends, or use formally as a study course. However you read it, it will be a wonderful companion on your own journey of faith.

Reviewed by Norma Fergusson

Special price of £6.99 in the shop (posted out for free) or £4.99 + postage from www.sarumcollegebookshop.co.uk until 28th February 2015. RRP £7.99

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