New Book! + Advent 3: Matt 11, Isa 35, Ps 146

Exciting News!

My new book, with top publishers DLT (Darton, Longman & Todd – anyone else old enough to think of Dave Lee Travis? No. Just me then) has a publication date of 27th Jan and … (dum dum duuum!) they’ve given me a discount code! Watch this space for news of how to get a deeply discounted copy, but for the mo, here’s the cover and the blurb.

Labyrinths have been a treasured part of Christian spirituality for centuries. The journey along a winding path, with twists and turns, unexpected obstacles, and the satisfaction of reaching journey’s end, creates an ideal opportunity for mindful and prayerful reflection upon our lives and God’s plan for us.
In this book, Fay Rowland presents a brilliant modern take on Bible study and labyrinth-walking. She offers forty short, biblical meditations on the challenges and blessings of daily life, each accompanied by a labyrinth illustration which you can ‘walk’ – just with your finger, or perhaps with colouring pens or pencils – as you reflect on the reading.

As in life, some of the labyrinth journeys are simple, while others present a more complicated path!

40 Days with Labyrinths is ideal for personal reflection during Lent or at any other time of year.

Fay Rowland is a mum and mathematician, Trekkie and theologian, scientist and sewing ninja. She writes intergenerational Christian resources, including a number of books, and her interests include the overlap of science and faith, children’s spirituality and beautiful algebra. She lives in the English Midlands with her pet dragon.


“Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”

You remember that time when Moses went up the mountain to get God’s instructions for how to live, and when he came down he heard the Israelites having a massive party with  a golden calf they’d made? Moses asked them about it, and they went all three-year-old caught with biscuit crumbs all over his face. Biscuits? What biscuits?

“What calf? You mean this?” they said. “We just chucked our spare jewellery in the fire and out it popped. Nothing to do with us.”

Yeah. Right.

But I can understand why they did it.

You see, Moses had been a fair old while up the mountain (that God, he can keep you chatting sometimes), and the people had got bored of waiting. They’d heard nothing for ages. Maybe Moses wasn’t coming back. He’d disappeared up a mountain and left them. Maybe God had disappeared too.

How long do you wait before you decide that something’s not happening?

How long do you wait for a bus before you give up and walk instead? How long do you wait in the cafe before you decide that your date isn’t coming and order cake anyway? How long do you wait for the Messiah before you decide he’s not coming?

Especially if you’ve heard nothing for ages.

You’d wait for your bus if there was a message on the board saying, ‘Delayed, expected 6 mins.’ You’d wait for your date if they called and said their car broke down and they’d be there in ten.

But if you’re waiting and waiting and you hear nothing, you start wondering, “Are they ever coming?”

John the Baptist was waiting. The people of God were waiting. Waiting for the promised one. They lived in the days between. The days between promise and fulfilment. And they’d been waiting for 400 years. They’d heard nothing. Was he ever coming?

400 years of silence. Then Jesus arrives.

John the Baptist thinks he might be the long awaited one. At least he did, back in chapter 3, but now he’s not so sure. “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” He was wanting a text from his date saying, “I’ll be there in ten, promise,” or an update on the departure board, “Next bus: 2 mins.”

But Jesus doesn’t do that. He doesn’t say he’ll be there in ten, or even two. “I’m here,” he says. “Now. It’s happening right now, all around you. Just look and you’ll see.”

This Advent, we’re waiting. We’re waiting for Christmas, to celebrate Jesus coming the first time. But more than that, we’re waiting for Jesus to come again. We live in the days between, just as John the Baptist did. We wonder how long we will wait to see God’s Kingdom, And Jesus’ answer to us is the same as to John. It’s here. Now. It’s happening right now, all around you. Just look and you’ll see.


Liturgy for Advent 3

Isaiah 35:1-10, Psalm 146:5-10

Confession and Absolution

O Lord, our eyes have been blind
and we have not seen the helpless and hurting.
O Lord, our ear have been deaf
and we have not heard those who cry aloud for justice.
O Lord, our tongues have been mute
and we have not spoken out for the defenceless and vulnerable.

Forgive us, good Lord, we pray.
Open our eyes, unstop our ear and loose our tongues,
that we may sing your praise in the wilderness
and proclaim your glory in the desert.
Amen.

A highway will be through the desert,
and it will be called the Holy Way.
It will be for God’s people,
And no traveller, not even fools, will go astray.
We will walk as God’s redeemed people.

The ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
As God’s redeemed people, we will walk.

Blessing and Dismissal

Blessed are those whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who keeps faith forever, who works justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry, who sets the prisoners free.
Blessed are the blind whose eyes the Lord opens.
Blessed are the bowed down whom the Lord lifts up.
Blessed are the righteous whom the Lord loves.
Blessed are the strangers whom the Lord watches over.
Blessed are the weak and lonely whom the Lord upholds.
Blessed are those whose hope is in the Lord their God.

Leave this place knowing yourself blessed,
and take God’s blessing to others.

Amen.


3 thoughts on “New Book! + Advent 3: Matt 11, Isa 35, Ps 146

  1. Hi Jim. Details will be in the next post but here’s a sneak peek preview, just for you 🙂
    Available generally on Jan 27th, and can be pre-ordered from the publishers from today!
    Order your copy from dltbooks.com and get 35% off using the code labyrinth at checkout.

    Like

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