Living in the Presence of God
Category: Prayer and Poetry
I have recently returned from a week on retreat in Northumberland. Whilst I was there I decided that I should read something by David Adam. He was born just a few miles from where I was staying and is now the Vicar of Holy Island.
Well, I couldn't have chosen better! To quote from the introduction, 'Too often people give up when they are on the edge of a breakthrough, or they choose security and comfort rather than risk dangerous living. We must learn to walk the edges of our experiences if we are to journey into God.' I am aware that having recently become the Vicar of a Parish myself it would be quite tempting to relax a little and avoid dangerous living. The same temptation is there for any Christian community. If we seek safety then we are in danger of shutting God out. He calls us to walk with him, to cross borders and head into the unknown.
This book draws on the stories of St Martin, St Ninian, St Patrick, St Oswald and St Cuthbert, Celtic saints who lived on the edge, on the borders, along the boundary lines. David Adam gives an overview of their individual spiritual journeys, which are in some cases interlinked, along with snippets from his own spiritual journey. He has obviously spent many years researching his subject matter and reflecting on it. These saints have so much to teach us about the life of faith, about living on the edge, the border between heaven and earth, about taking risks.
There are many poems, quotes and prayers along the way to help the reader become more aware of God and his presence. There is a lot about vision, about seeing things from the perspective of heaven, about stepping back from the fray and listening for the divine whisper. There are also some quite thought provoking, challenging statements in this book such as,
'Only those who walk the paths know more than the maps;
At the end of each chapter there are 'Exercises' to encourage the reader to engage with the material and God. I need to go back and read this book again, soon, and regularly from now on!
This poem sums it up for me:
Come to the edge,
Sue Groom, May 2004
The Revd Sue Groom is the Director of Deanery Licensed Ministry for the Kensington Episcopal Area of London. Before this she was Vicar of St Matthew's, Yiewsley and also served as the Reader Training Officer for the Willesden Episcopal Area. She is the author of Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew (Paternoster Press, 2003).
Previously published by London School of Theology. Reused here by kind permission.Order from www.christianbookshops.org
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