With Easter Week, spring break and other incentives to use our time to read something inspiring, we recommend the following:
Were You There? Finding Ourselves at the Foot of the Cross, by Erik Kolbell. Louisville: WJKP, 2005. ISBN 0-664-22778-3. Hb., 163 pp., $14.95.
What would you have done were you there during Jesus’ passion? Would you have provided comfort, as did Mary? Would you have betrayed him, as did Judas? Would you have abused the power entrusted to you, as did Caiaphas, Herod, and Pilate? Kolbell skillfully puts us into the story of Jesus’ passion and death in such a way that we are there–and that then is somehow now, too. Retelling Jesus’ passion from the perspective of multiple characters, he offers rich insight into Jesus’ story, and into our stories, as well.
The Scriptures, the Cross & the Power of God: Reflections for Holy Week, by Tom Wright. Louisville: WJKP, 2006. ISBN 0-664-23051-2. Pb., 84 pp. $12.95.
Wright offers nine meditations for Holy Week and Easter, capturing the tension between Jesus and the authorities in Matthew 21-23 before moving on to texts from John’s Gospel for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter (Matthew 28:1-10 is his text for the Easter Vigil). In his inimitable way, Wright offers both scholarly insight and an approachable style in a resource that will prove useful for the church in marking these high holy days.
The Resurrection of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan and N. T. Wright in Dialogue, edited by Robert B. Stewart. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006. ISBN 0-8006-3785-2. Pb., 220 pp., $18.
What happened on Easter morning? What does Jesus’ resurrection mean? In March of 2005, Crossan and Wright debated Jesus’ resurrection. In their previously published works, Crossan suggests that there was no bodily resurrection but that resurrection accounts are about the conferral of authority on the disciples. Wright claims that the empty tomb and encounters with the risen Jesus are the most logical way–indeed, the only way–to account for the origin of the church. Crossan and Wright recognize some common ground between their positions, but then point out significant differences in their understandings. The transcript of their dialogue is followed by several essays that continue their conversation.
Sharing the Easter Faith with Children, by Carolyn C. Brown. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2005. ISBN 0-687-34424-7. Pb., 125 pp., $18.
The events of Holy Week and Easter are difficult enough for adults to grasp, let alone for children. Nonetheless, Brown is convinced that Easter is truly good news for children, and offers a very helpful resource for congregations and families. She provides useful background, along with many resources, to enable the church to proclaim the Good News in ways that children can understand.
J is for Jesus: An Easter Alphabet and Activity Book, by Debbie Trafton O’Neal. Illustrated by Jan Bryan-Hunt. Minneapolis: Augsburg Books, 2005. ISBN 0-8066-5123-7. Pb., 32 pp. $10.99.
O’Neal sets the story of Holy Week and Easter to acrostic rhyme, and includes several activities for children and families. Aimed at younger children (ages 4-8), J is for Jesus will enable its readers and hearers to grow in their understanding of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
Sing Praise, by Rhonda Gowler Greene. Illustrated by Janet Broxon. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 2005. ISBN 0-8066-5120-2. Hb., 32 pp. $16.99.
Sing Praise is a joyful, brightly illustrated book for young children (ages 4-8) that proclaim the goodness of God’s creation (“Sun and Moon sing praises too, and stars that glow at night. They honor God, their maker, by shining brilliant-bright.”). It is based on Psalms 148 and 150 (lectionary texts for the Easter season in Year C).