With an ear to the particulars of how various liturgical traditions pray, and using an advisory team of liturgical experts, Shane Claiborne, Jonathon Wilson-Hartgrove and Enuma Okoro have created Common Prayer for Ordinary Radicals. This universal prayer book allows readers to greet each day together, remembering significant dates and Christian heroes in church history, as well as important historic dates in the struggle for freedom and justice. There are morning prayers for each day of the year, evening prayers for each of the seven days of the week, a midday prayer to be repeated throughout the year, and prayers for special occasions. In addition there are morning prayers for Holy Week. Common Prayer also includes a unique song book composed of music and classic lyrics to more than fifty songs from various traditions, including African spirituals, traditional hymns, Mennonite gathering songs, and Taize chants. Tools for prayer are scattered throughout to aid those who are unfamiliar with liturgy and to deepen the prayer life of those who are familiar with liturgical prayer. Ultimately Common Prayer makes liturgy dance, taking the best of the old and bringing new life to it with a fresh fingerprint for the contemporary renewal of the church.
Thomas Merton's classic study of monastic prayer and contemplation brings a tradition of spirituality alive for the present day. But, as A M Allchin points out in his Introduction to this new edition, Contemplative Prayer also shows us the present day in a new perspective, because we see it in the light of a long and living tradition.
Merton stresses that in meditation we should not look for a 'method' or 'system' but cultivate an 'attitude' or 'outlook': faith, openness, attention, reverence, expectation, trust, joy. God is found in the desert of surrender, in giving up any expectation of a particular message and 'waiting on the Word of God in silence'.
Merton insists on the humility of faith, which he argues 'will do far more to launch us into the full current of historical reality than the pompous rationalisation of politicians who think they are somehow the directors and manipulators of history'.
In this exhilarating book, John Pritchard reclaims the narrative power of the Gospels by retelling well-known stories in vivid, imaginative language, and showing us how our own experiences fit into the Christian story and can be transformed by it.
He takes key narrative like the visit of Mary to Elizabeth, the parable of the rich fool, and the last supper and helps us to be part of them. We are given the opportunity to see the people involved more clearly, not least of all Jesus himself – and so consider whether we might live our own lives a little differently.
An ideal resource for anyone concerned to communicate the Christian faith in a lively, contemporary style, Living the Gospel Stories Today will prove no less helpful as an aid to personal meditation and group discussion.
Never mock what others say. Perhaps their words are full of nonsense.Perhaps they are trying to puff themselves up.Perhaps they like hearing the sound of their voices.Perhaps they are trying to deceive their hearers.Perhaps they are foolish and dim.Perhaps they are more clever than wise.Yet amidst the useless clayYou ay find jewels beyond price.The word of God is in every heart,And can speak through every voice.
Never mock (p.104)
This collection of stories, meditations, poems and prayers evokes the authentic spirit of Celtic Christianity. Capturing the atmosphere of parables passed down through generations, it shows the human warmth, respect for the natural world and robust, down-to-earth qualities for which Celtic spirituality is so greatly valued.
With its rich treasury of material – most of it previously unavailable in modern editions – Celtic Parables offers a fresh lively introduction to the Celtic world. It will appeal to all those fascinated by our Celtic heritage and the way it speaks directly to us today.
by Laurence Freeman
In The Selfless Self, the Benedictine monk and teacher Laurence Freeman describes the essential dynamic of contemplative prayer. This kind of prayer, he says, is like exploring a sea-cave discovered in the holidays of childhood. Though its recesses may seem dark and deep, something calls to our spirit of adventure and entices us inward to a hidden treasure. Meditation is the spiritual journey into the cave of the heart, which has its own hidden and unlit places. Though we are entering the unknown, each successive step of faith brings light into our darkness and dispels our primal fears. Then the journey becomes a two-way process: with enlightened vision, we return to the world with renewed understanding of our place in it and our responsibilities towards it. We are better able to resist its illusory attractions and to discover instead its true joys.
Silence, stillness and simplicity are the keys that open the cave of the heart. Laurence Freeman is a universal guide with whom anyone can discover the world-transforming power of meditation.