Film and Book Reviews

Food for the Lenten pilgrimage

BOOKSThe Archbishop of Canterbury has chosen his 2016 Lent Book author with commendable judgement, writes Brian Porter.

February 9 2016I Am With You is the latest in a long Church Times tradition of publishing at the start of Lent each year a useful small book to accompany committed Anglicans on their Lenten journey. The author is an American priest and theologian based at Yale University. She examines the biblical portrayal of God’s presence among us as light in darkness, that “Light by which we see light.” Archbishop Welby commends his choice as a reflective and thought-provoking guide to the solemn season of Lent. He himself is immersed in the Benedictine devotional tradition and has established a small community at Lambeth which lives according to a Benedictine rule.

This moving book is structured around the daily rhythms of morning, noonday, afternoon and evening prayer together with the four Benedictine night watch prayer times leading to the new dawn. Justin Welby comments: “This book is about growing closer to God. That is at the heart of a good Lent…Through the book we travel through day and night…This is a book to be picked up and put down quietly, not read at a sitting or in a rush.” Its scriptural focus is Matthew’s Gospel and it is enlightened with deep psychological insights.

As an experienced counsellor the author draws upon Carl Jung’s psycho-analytic insights and as a biblical expositor, upon Karl Barth’s exposition of salvation history. She weaves together simply but profoundly, classic readings of scripture based on the seven monastic hours of prayer and the seven days of creation. Whether you are conservative or progressive, here is food for your Lenten pilgrimage. There is both God talk and scriptural exegesis.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has chosen his 2016 Lent Book author with commendable judgement. Buy a copy as Lent moves on.

I am With You: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2016, by Kathryn Greene-McCreight (Bloomsbury, $20).