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Michael Perham Jesus and Peter: Growing in friendship with God

Michael Perham

Jesus and Peter:

Growing in friendship with God

ISBN: 9780 2810 6754 1

SPCK, 2012, 111pp, £9.99

 From the pen of the Bishop of Gloucester (also Bishop Protector of our European Province), comes a very personal account of Christian discipleship.

He skilfully assembles, in just over 100 pages, all that is available in the New Testament on the relationship between those named in the book’s title in a way that challenges, encourages and inspires the reader.  The story is beautiful and compelling, beautifully and compellingly told – and the reader, whether at the outset of her own journey of faith or at a later stage of his friendship with Jesus – finds her/himself time and again in familiar territory and prompted to take another step.

In the stories of Peter’s own life after Jesus’ ascension, we find echoes of Jesus’ ministry (the raising of Tabitha paired with the raising of Jairus’ daughter, the escape from prison with Jesus’ resurrection from the prison of death).  The author, and with him we the readers, ‘find that if we become disciples of Jesus, increasingly our experiences will be like his as we allow our life and experience to be shaped by him’.

In the penultimate chapter, which considers the two ‘Letters of Peter’ we find the burden of the book’s message expressed as a question and answer – ‘How does the disciple relate to Jesus?’ – ‘The overwhelming answer has to be through loving him’.  Simple?  Emphatically, No.  Many believers do find this concept difficult to move from head to heart, which leaves them with work to do – and, love being love, not the less beloved as they labour on.  Francis of Assisi was a great lover of Jesus, and his followers have so much to gain from a slow reading of this book.

 

Anselm SSF