Resources for Year A
Hunger for the Word: Lectionary Reflections on Food and Justice, Year A, Larry Hollar, editor. Liturgical Press, 2004. Pb., 240 pp. $19.95.
In a world of hunger and starvation, Bread for the World’s Larry Hollar has edited a resource that brings reflections on hunger issues to the forefront of consideration of lectionary texts. Through the perspectives included here, preachers and teachers will find their eyes opened to God’s concern for the plight of the poor and hungry of the world.
Isaiah, Interpreted by Early Christian and Medieval Commentators, translated and edited by Robert Louis Wilken. The Church’s Bible. Eerdmans, 2007. Hb., 590 pp. $45.
Wilken is the general editor of this series, which seeks to bring ancient readings of Scripture into contemporary conversation in the church. Such work provides a helpful reminder to the church that there is much value and insight into Isaiah from the likes of Augustine, Ambrose, Chrysostom and others who were actively engaged in reading and interpreting the prophet’s work in the early centuries of the church.
Lectionary Worship Aids, Series VIII Cycle A: Cradled in God’s Heart, by Thom W. Shuman. CSS, 2007. pb., 216 pp. $18.95.
Shuman offers calls to worship, prayers of confession, prayers of the day, and more in this useful resource. The language and imagery of the liturgy is rooted in the lectionary texts for each Sunday.
Matthew, by Stanley Hauerwas. Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. Brazos, 2007. Hb, 288 pp. $29.99.
Hauerwas mines the Gospel of Matthew in his characteristically provocative way, lifting up the rigors of Jesus’ preaching and teaching. The challenge of Hauerwas’ theological reading will certainly “afflict the comfortable,” and the church will be well served for sake of his challenge — whether or not we agree with him.
Matthew 1-7, by Ulrich Luz. Hermeneia. Fortress, 2007. Hb., 432 pp. $75.
The final of three volumes on Matthew’s Gospel, Luz’s work here provides a helpful introduction to the gospel, and detailed treatment of Matthew’s text (including reflections on the history of its interpretation). Busy pastors and teachers would benefit greatly from pausing to savor the depth of Luz’s analysis of Matthew’s work.
Not Ashamed of the Gospel: Sermons from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, by Fleming Rutledge. Eerdmans, 2007. Pb., 411 pp. $19.
Fans of Fleming Rutledge will not be disappointed with this collection of her sermons from Romans. Preachers and teachers will find her work here to be an invaluable, insightful, and challenging companion to Year A’s summer epistle readings.
Preaching the Old Testament: A Lectionary Commentary, by Ronald J. Allen and Clark M. Williamson. WJKP, 2006. Hb., 309 pp. $29.95.
The third and final volume in a series that includes Preaching the Gospels without Blaming the Jews and Preaching the Letters without Dismissing the Law, Allen and Williamson interpret Old Testament texts in their original context, explore potential New Testament themes or texts that are informed by those texts, and comment briefly on the relationship between Old and New Testament lectionary readings.
Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary: A Guide, by Gail R. O’Day and Charles Hackett. Abingdon, 2007. Pb., 161 pp. $17.
O’Day and Hackett provide introductory essays on the nature and history of lectionaries, followed by chapters on the major cycles of the year. Multiple charts for the major cycles show themes that arise from the lections, making this a great resource for planning.
Resources for Preaching and Worship — Year A: Quotations, Meditations, Poetry, and Prayers, compiled by Hannah Ward, Jennifer Wild. WJKP, 2004. Hb., 302 pp., $29.95.
Ward and Wild weave together a rich tapestry of quotations, meditations, poems, and prayers by classic and contemporary writers. This volume links with lectionary readings for Sundays and for important festival days such as Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost.
Romans, by Robert Jewett. Hermeneia. Fortress, 2007. Hb., 1,140 pp. $90.
Romans is featured prominently among Year A’s epistle readings. Jewett’s massive work on Paul’s letter carefully elucidates the letter’s rhetoric, while incorporating recent discoveries in the archaeology and sociology of ancient Rome. Jewett’s insights will richly reward the teachers and preachers who attend to his work.
The Stewardship Companion: Lectionary Resources for Preaching, by David N. Mosser. WJKP, 2007. Pb., 249 pp. 19.95.
For each Sunday in the three-year cycle, Mosser lifts out one lectionary text through which he explores implications for stewardship. His is a valuable resource for extending an emphasis on stewardship beyond a fall campaign.
Water from the Well: Lectionary Devotional for Cycle A, by Stephen P. McCutchan. CSS, 2007. Pb., 283 pp. $23.95.
One of the ordination vows taken by Ministers of Word and Sacrament is about Scripture: to be affirmed is that the Bible is not just God’s word for the church, but also “God’s word for you.” Here is a gift for lectionary preachers: a devotional reading of the texts to be preached for Sunday morning. Useful for anyone who is guided by the lectionary for prayer or study.
Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Advent and Christmas with Charles Wesley, by Paul Wesley Chilcote. Morehouse, 2007. Pb., 112 pp. $13.
December 2007 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Charles Wesley, author of some 9,000 hymns. Chilcote’s work draws together Scripture, Wesley’s hymns, reflections and prayers for this season.
I Want to Spend These Days with You: A Year of Daily Devotions, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Translated by O. C. Dean, Jr. WJKP, 2007. Hb., 394 pp. $19.95.
Drawn from the full span of Bonhoeffer’s writings, these daily readings offer substantive reflections on the meaning of Christian faith and life. The selections here bear witness to the depth of Bonhoeffer’s faith amidst the many challenges of his life and work.
Living Loved: Knowing Jesus as the Lover of Your Soul, by Peter Wallace. Seabury, 2007. Pb., 176 pp. $16.
Wallace, host of Day 1 (formerly The Protestant Hour), leads readers through the Gospel of John with ninety brief devotional readings. Throughout, he explores the significance of our being loved, and of our call to love, in the midst of the joys and struggles of day-to-day life.
Practicing the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence. Introduction and Notes by Tony Jones. Paraclete Press, 2007. Pb., 140 pp. $14.95.
Tony Jones helpfully introduces and annotates Brother Lawrence’s classic work of Christian faith and devotion. Useful for individual reading and for group study.
Sacred Space: The Prayer Book 2008, by the Jesuit Communication Center, Ireland. Ave Maria Press, 2007. Pb., 379 pp. $14.95; and Sacred Space for Advent and the Christmas Season 2007-2008, by the Jesuit Communication Center, Ireland. Ave Maria Press, 2007. Pb., 90 pp. $2.25.
The daily prayers of Sacred Space have been available through the Internet, and as podcasts. Now in print for the coming year, they provide helpful guidance for busy folk, encouraging ten minutes a day in prayer.
Good Books for Giving …
A Broad Place: An Autobiography, by JÃ¼rgen Moltmann. Fortress, 2007. Hb., 406 pp. $ 27
Readers of Moltmann — pastors and teachers alike — will enjoy his telling of the events of his life, from his days as German soldier and prisoner of war to pastor to theology professor to international lecturer. Along the way, he explicates his formulation of a theology of hope, wrestles with the theology of the cross, engages in ecumenical conversation, and more.
Inside World Religions: An Illustrated Guide, by Kevin O’Donnell. Fortress, 2007. Hb., 192 pp. $24.
Perhaps one of the ways that Christians can fulfill Jesus’ commandment to “love your neighbors” is to get to know them a little better. O’Donnell offers a beautifully-illustrated guide to the major religious traditions of the world, but with a twist: rather than objectively describing them, he considers them from the perspective of what such traditions might mean for their adherents.
Invincible Spirits: A Thousand Years of Women’s Spiritual Writings, compiled by Felicity Leng. Eerdmans, 2007. Pb., 212 pp. $15.
Leng calls on such saints as Julian of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen, Simone Weil, Teresa of Avila, Evelyn Underhill, and Christina Rossetti for their wisdom and insight into the spiritual life. She arranges their writings topically, listening for their perspectives on love and fulfillment, creativity and visions, faith and renewal, truth and simplicity, joy and peace, and more.
Joy in Divine Wisdom: Practices of Discernment from Other Cultures and Christian Traditions, by Marva Dawn. Enduring Questions in Christian Life. Jossey-Bass, 2006. Hb., 296 pp. $21.95.
Why am I here? How do I make decisions? Dawn invites readers to consider such questions conversationally, in keeping with the wisdom of Christians around the world for whom such discernment often happens in community. She sets decision-making in the context of practices such as honesty, humility, forgiveness, and faith.
Leading from Within: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Lead, edited by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner. Jossey-Bass, 2007. Hb., 252 pp. $19.95.
A diverse gathering of pastors, CEOs, community activists, attorneys, physicians, educators and other leaders speak about leadership, and share excerpts of poems and other writings that have encouraged them in their work. The conjunction of the stories of leaders with the poems that move them is often deeply moving.
Lord, Have Mercy: Praying for Justice with Conviction and Humility, by Claire E. Wolfteich. Jossey-Bass, 2006. Hb., 215 pp. $21.95.
How can Christians hold together the practice of prayer with the struggle for justice? Wolfteich confesses her own struggle with the complexity of many issues, while offering multiple examples of folk whose deep personal faith led them to public struggles for the wellbeing of persons and communities.
Making Spiritual Sense: Christian Leaders as Spiritual Interpreters, by Scott Cormode. Abingdon, 2006. Pb., 139 pp. $15.
In a very helpful way, Cormode reminds church leaders that a primary task of leadership is the shaping of meaning for a congregation, and for church members. He offers several resources for such meaning-shaping work, and concludes with reflections on Christianity and money.
Paul & His World: Interpreting the New Testament in Its Context, by Helmut Koester. Fortress, 2007. Hb., 301 pp. $39.
For more than 50 years, Harvard Divinity School’s Helmut Koester has been a leading scholar and interpreter of the New Testament. This collection of essays spans his illustrious career, highlighting many of the contributions that he has made in the study of Paul’s letters.
Praying at Burger King, by Richard J. Mouw. Eerdmans, 2007. Pb., 144 pp. $10.
Gathered herein is an eclectic assortment of Mouw’s brief reflections on a host of topics — some humorous, some serious, all thoughtful. From the importance of making eye contact at McDonald’s to the dignity of chickens to struggles with patriotism, Mouw seeks ways to articulate his faith amidst the happenings of everyday life.
Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — and Doesn’t, by Stephen Prothero. HarperOne, 2007. Hb., 296 pp. $24.95.
Prothero expresses his deep concern that Americans, among the most religious people in the world, are shockingly illiterate about the content of faith — their own faith, and that of others. After diagnosing the “illness,” he offers the “cure” of a dictionary of core knowledge from the major world religions that Americans need “to make sense of their country and the world” (149).
The Book of Buechner: A Journey Through His Writings, by Dale Brown. WJKP, 2007. Hb., 394 pp. $24.95.
Brown skillfully weaves together the life and the writing of Frederick Buechner, showing how the experiences of Buechner’s life and faith have illumined his writing through the years. Fans of Buechner’s fiction will particularly enjoy this work, as Brown frames the story of Buechner’s life with his novels.
The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways that Jesus is the Way, by Eugene Peterson. Eerdmans, 2007. Hb., 289 pp. $22.
Taking up the third volume in his spiritual theology, Peterson here leads the reader to consider again and again what it means to say that Jesus is “the Way.” That he does so in conversation with Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Isaiah, Herod, Josephus, and others displays Peterson’s remarkable ability as a reader and interpreter of Scripture and tradition. That he does so in a way that sometimes calls into question the American “way” ought to make us sit up and listen.
The Mystery of Death, by Dorothy Soelle. Fortress, 2007. Hb., 146 pp. $15.
Citing Martin Luther’s dictum that “the terror of death is death itself,” Soelle wrestles with the role that death plays in our culture, and in our own lives. Given the prospect of death, she prompts her readers to ask about the meaning of their lives, in conversation with Scripture, tradition, and modern voices.
The Path of Celtic Prayer: An Ancient Way to Everyday Joy, by Calvin Miller. IVP, 2007. Hb., 170 pp. $18.
Calvin Miller delves into the world of the Celts, finding great help for a life of prayer in their ancient wisdom and practice. Through his journey into their world (inspired in part by a trip to Iona), he lifts up six manifestations of prayer, including Trinitarian, scriptural, and “long, wandering” forms.
What We Were Made For: Christian Reflections on Love, by Sondra Wheeler. Enduring Questions in Christian Life. Jossey-Bass, 2007. Hb., 192 pp. $21.95.
Wheeler writes with depth and intensity about this “greatest” gift. Her exploration ranges from God’s love as source and standard, to the problems and shortcomings of love, to what it means to love our families, our friends, and strangers and enemies.
Especially for Children
Angels Among Us, by Leena Lane. Illustrated by Elena Baboni. Eerdmans, 2007. Hb., 24 pp. $17.
Lane and Baboni tell and illustrate the stories of biblical angels from both Old and New Testaments. (Ages 5-10).
Mystery in the Stable, by Lisa Flinn and Barbara Younger. Illustrated by Judi Niernberger. Abingdon, 2006. Hb., 32 pp. $18.
Flinn and Younger retell Luke’s Christmas story from the perspective of two young children in a neighboring home in Bethlehem. (Ages 4-8).
O Come, All Ye Faithful, by Peg Augustine. Illustrated by Patricia Ludlow. Abingdon, 2007. Hb., 32 pp. $18. Augustine tells both the Christmas story and the story of the writing of “Adeste Fideles.” (Ages 9-12).
Star of Wonder, by Leena Lane. Illustrated by Elena Baboni. Abingdon, 2007. Hb., 30 pp. $14.
Lane retells the Christmas story, which is lavishly illustrated by Baboni. (Ages 4-8).
To Everything There Is a Season, illustrated by Jude Daly. Eerdmans, 2006. Hb., 24 pp. $16.
The words of Ecclesiastes 3 from the King James version of the Bible are illustrated in scenes from a village in the illustrator’s native South Africa (all ages).