A Rhythm of Prayer, edited by Sarah Bessey (SPCK, £14.99 (Church Times Bookshop SPECIAL PRICE £12.99); 978-0-281-08515-6).
“From living rooms to church basements, Sarah Bessey grew up amongst prayer circles filled with women from diverse backgrounds who prayed in diverse ways. In A Rhythm of Prayer, she captures the spirit of those prayer circles, bringing together a range of faith leaders, including Barbara Brown Taylor, Amena Brown, Nadia Bolz-Weber and many more, to offer daily inspiration for connecting with God. With thirty one original prayers for every mood — tiredness, anger and sorrow as well as hope, love and reconciliation — and journaling pages to add your own prayers to the circle, this is not just a devotional book, but a celebration of unique voices. It is also a warm, inviting invitation to renew and revitalise your prayer life, ideal for anyone who is looking for fresh ideas for prayer or for those just starting to explore prayer for the first time. Filled with wisdom, compassion and words of poetic beauty, A Rhythm of Prayer is a Christian prayer book that provides spiritual nourishment and guidance. It will leave you feeling connected to others who also walk with God and less alone in difficult, uncertain times.”
Every Thing is Sacred: 40 practices and reflections on The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr and Patrick Boland (SPCK, £10.99 (£9.89); 978-0-281-08616-0).
“In his landmark book, The Universal Christ, Richard Rohr articulated a transformative view of what it means to recognise Jesus as ‘Christ’ — as a portrait of God's constant, unfolding work in the world, and in us. Now, in partnership with Patrick Boland, a psychotherapist and member of the Center for Action and Contemplation community, Rohr invites us to experience God's work in practice through a series of 40 reflections. Each reflection in Every Thing Is Sacred draws on a key passage of The Universal Christ, pairing this with prayers, journal prompts and contemplative exercises to help us encounter the truth that the presence and compassion of God are all around us. A wonderfully encouraging read, filled with Richard Rohr’s characteristic wisdom, this devotional book is perfect for anyone who wants to make the liberating message of The Universal Christ part of their everyday lives. It is also suitable for newcomers to Rohr and those looking for reflections and meditations that will increase their awareness of God in the world and in us. Whether read daily for Lent 2021 or explored over the course of a year, Every Thing Is Sacred is a hope-filled journey into the love at the heart of all things.”
Table and Temple: The Christian eucharist and its Jewish roots by David L. Stubbs (Eerdmans, £32.99 (£29.69); 978-0-8028-7480-1).
“In most modern discussions of the eucharist, the Jewish temple and its services of worship do not play a large role. They are often mentioned in passing, but little work is done in grounding, organising, or explicating the connections between these things and the eucharistic celebration. In Table and Temple, David Stubbs sheds light on the reasons for this neglect and shows the important role the temple and its worship played in the imagination of Jesus and his disciples about what was to become a central Christian practice. He then explores the five central meanings of the temple and its main services of worship, demonstrating their relationship to the five central meanings of the Christian eucharist. These central meanings of the temple itself, the daily, weekly, and monthly sacrifices, and the three pilgrim feasts are linked to the history of salvation. Stubbs distils them to (1) the real presence of God and God's Kingdom among God's people, (2) thanksgiving for creation and providence, (3) remembrance of past deliverance, (4) covenant renewal in the present, and (5) a hopeful celebration of the feast to come. They provide a solid ground upon which to organise contemporary Christian eucharistic imagination and practice. Such a solid ground not only expands our theology and enriches contemporary practice — it can also bring greater ecumenical unity to this central Christian rite.”
Selected by Aude Pasquier, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.