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Passionate Christianity: A journey to the cross

Author: Cally Hammond
Published By: SPCK (London)
Pages: 96
Price: £6.99
ISBN: 978 0281 05882

Reviewed by Terry Hinks.

This is a slender volume with less than eighty pages of main text including questions for discussion (and only three books noted in references!), but no less valuable for its brevity.

It is based on five addresses given by the author in Norwich Cathedral in Lent 2006. It retains that verbal and reflective style, leading the reader through the ‘five sorrowful mysteries’ (part of the prayer of the rosary). Each of the five chapters begins with a vivid line drawing and a passage of scripture; then after the main text there are questions for further reflection and a prayer.

Written in direct and plain language, it explores the agony in the garden, the scourging of Jesus, the crowning with thorns, the carrying of the cross and finally the crucifixion itself. In the reflection, the author considers the reality of human violence and sin and the meaning of Christ’s suffering. She draws some parallels to modern events, such as the torture inflicted in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. She briefly explores the different models of atonement, rejecting that of penal substitution and preferring the language of sacrifice.

The book builds up in power as it is read and could be helpful as the basis for a Lent discussion group, meditations or worship series. It encourages us to enter into the stories, rather than remain as detached spectators, so that, in the author’s words, we can “enter into the reality of our salvation and make the Gospel our own.”

Terry Hinks

United Reformed Church Minister and Ministry Today Board Member

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You are reading Issue 42 of Ministry Today, published in March 2008.

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