Sunday, March 15, 2015

Easter Stories~







Many families I know have several favorite Christmas stories, and the routine of reading them every year adds delight to the season.  
Nobody I asked, however, could have named a single Easter story except for the Gospel narratives.
This volume will happily change that. 

Plough Publishing has carried on in the tradition of their previous work "Home for Christmas." 
They've mined great literature from through the ages and across the globe, searching for stories that shout and whisper "He is Risen!" 

The stories range widely in style and genre.  
Some are what we call "Biblical Fiction," where humans use that holy imagination to give us a scene from the Gospel's themselves. 

One of the most unique examples of this is "Stories from the Cotton Patch Gospel." 
Clarence Jordan brings the Gospel into Georgia. He envisions how the Passion may have taken place in the Deep South, with followers Rock, Jack and the Magdala girl and Jesus bringing the "God Movement." 
He shows us the betrayal, the agony in the garden, and the Sunday Rising in a new way.
{I'll be keeping an eye out for Mr. Jordan's entire book.}

St. Veronica's Kerchief is more traditional, but every bit as compelling. 
I can't say anything about it without spoiling the pleasure of your own reading, but it gives a story to the Sixth Station of the Cross. 

And then there's Elizabeth Goudge's "John." I hope to re-read this one every year. 
In just a few pages, she manages to give life and breath and soul to John, Peter, and Mary Magdalene, following them to the Tomb. 

Some are historical fiction, such as Tolstoy's tale of two old villagers who set out for Jerusalem. 
On the way they find God through an unexpected detour, and they learn the true meaning of pilgrimage.

Claire Huchet Bishop provides another historical, about a gang of children living in Nazi occupied Paris. 
The way these children provide an Easter gift for a sick friend makes a wonderful story. 

And Alan Paton, author of "Cry, The Beloved Country" takes us to South Africa in the pain and turmoil of Apartheid. 
His story, quiet and humble, shows us clearly why Jesus washed his disciples feet and said "Now do the same."

Other's are far more mythic, and all of them contain glimpses of Him and His Resurrection power.
He's in the King who "calls out with a lion's voice" and takes the lash upon his own back.
He is the Ragman in my second favorite story, who goes calling through the city, exchanging bandages for health and tear-stained handkerchiefs for gladness.
He's seen "through a glass darkly" in the fable of Danko, who tore out his burning heart to light the way through danger. 

And the best part is, the selections transcend all denominational categories. 
Turn your eyes and tune your ears to the everlasting mercy, and prepare to hear these tales echoing in your heart for a while to come. 

"For though every man's life must come to its end, God's spirit can never be quenched... thus Jesus wanders on, over steppes and through forests, into hearts and homes. He looks into the eyes of beggars; he blesses children. No spies can prevent him, no magistrates can arrest him, no prison can hold him fast. He can cross every frontier, and walk among us, too. Pray that he may, for we have long had need of him."
~ Karl Josef Friedrich, "The Case of Rachoff."  

 I am grateful to The Plough Publishing House for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest opinion. 

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