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Book review: Transforming Love: How friendship with Jesus changes us by Amy Boucher Pye

01 September 2023

Anne Spalding looks at lessons from Bethany

THE content of this book is not the examination of friendship which I had expected from the subtitle and back cover. Rather, it is an invitation to develop in prayer and in response to God, on the basis that Jesus was friends with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and that we are invited into a deepening friendship with Jesus.

Amy Boucher Pye takes the stories involving Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (Luke 10, John 11, and John 12) and explores the perspectives of different characters in the various scenes. In each chapter, Boucher Pye gives an example from her own life, then expands on the scene by bringing together thoughts on the character or incident from a range of commentators. This is followed by a “Time to Pray” section. Here, she introduces a different approach to prayer in each chapter, such as prayerful reading (Lectio Divina), using your imagination in prayer, praying with the Psalms, lament, and receiving God’s promises.

After this, there is a section called “The Lord is . . .” which is Boucher Pye’s re-writing of Psalm 23, taking up the theme of the chapter. These include “The Lord is my teacher”, “The Lord is my companion”, and “The Lord is my defender”. At the end of each chapter, is a section with questions for individual reflection or group discussion.

The stories of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus are widely known, and many of the “Time to Pray” sections will be familiar to anyone who has done some reading on prayer. On the other hand, for an individual or a group wanting somewhere to begin, this might be a suitable start.

Dr Anne Spalding is a member of the Third Order of the Society of St Francis, and lives in Suffolk.


Transforming Love: How friendship with Jesus changes us
Amy Boucher Pye
SPCK £10.99
Church Times Bookshop £9.89

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