Cascade Books, 94 pages
Few contemporary scholars have paid more attention to biblical texts than Walter Brueggemann through the course of a remarkable life of service to the church and academy. Though many try, few navigate those worlds as well as Brueggemann. Most fall in one space or another. As teacher, scholar and preacher, he testifies in this brief collection of essays that “any serious crisis is a summons for us to reread the Bible afresh.” In typical Brueggemann close-reading fashion, this book is a serious probe of Scriptures that not only gives vision to a people in crisis but also authentic hope for a renewed covenantal relationship with God who is always doing a new thing among us.
When Brueggemann speaks of biblical hope, he is emphatically not referring to liberal optimism or conservative sentiment. Writing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, he draws attention to the “hidden things” of God that are disclosed in the Torah and prophets. Those who have read him know that he will not leave the scriptural witness without the implications of such witness for human communities. That includes his reminder in an exposition of Psalm 77 of the necessity of turning from self to God. Lamentation moves us to realign ourselves with God’s intention and that is always in relationship with the un-domesticated Holy One who summons us into the future of the new creation. With characteristic honesty and humility, he acknowledges the challenges of colleagues in ministry in these difficult times. He describes these essays as an “attempt to stand in solidarity” and “perhaps offer resource and energy for that ongoing work.” The attempt succeeds.