“I’M NOT an expert in prayer or the Bible, just someone who’s on the same journey as you.” As I read this engaging little book, the image of the Emmaus road kept returning to me. Writing for young people like her, who are often suspicious of being told what to do or to think, Hannah Fytche does not set out to offer magic solutions, but companionship on the way.
The book is, broadly, in two parts: Part I explores why it matters that we relate to God in Christ, while Part II focuses on how to build and maintain that relationship through “rhythms of rootedness” — spiritual disciplines or habits of faithfulness, including Bible study, prayer, experiencing creation, silence and rest, belonging to church, and liturgy. Those of us who did not grow up in the Evangelical tradition could learn a great deal from the way in which she communicates her discovery of these key building-blocks of Christian discipleship to others who may be less familiar with them.
Although most of the ideas here are not new in themselves, Fytche presents them in a new way, encouraging others with her youthful energy and enthusiasm to take the risk of discovering a God who transcends all our attempt at labelling. She is disarmingly honest about life’s complexity and the imperfections of the Church — “messy” and “tied up in knots” both recur several times — in a way that will encourage other young Christians to admit their own struggles and find comfort.
Fytche is a Master’s student in theology at Cambridge, and a potential ordinand. She writes with the directness of the regular blogger: her own blog, createdenough.com, is listed alongside several others in an index at the back, together with suggestions of music and further reading. Each chapter ends with “headphones time”, a practical exercise in prayer or reflection designed to help block out distractions and allow God to speak. In a genre dominated by introverts, it is also refreshing to read an extrovert’s take on spirituality and the importance of silence: “Why should we make the effort to love silence when we have Netflix?” Read on and find out.
Canon Rowan Williams is Precentor of Peterborough Cathedral.
Rooted in God’s Grace: Dwelling in the knowledge of God
Church Times Bookshop £8.10