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THE WAY OF CHRIST-LIKENESS: BEING TRANSFORMED BY THE LITURGIES OF LENT, HOLY WEEK AND EASTER – MICHAEL PERHAM

This excellent companion and commentary embraces the period from Ash Wednesday to Pentecost, focussing particularly on Holy Week and Easter.  The author, formerly a member of the Church of England’s Liturgical Commission, writes principally for those who celebrate the liturgy and preach in local churches. His accessible exposition of key liturgical concepts provides excellent teaching material. Explanation of the differences between the calendar and the approach adopted by Common Worship to this period of the Church’s year, and that in the Book of Common Prayer, which still provides a mental framework for some older worshippers, is particularly helpful.

Each chapter considers the significance of the events being enacted, commemorated or celebrated, tracing their observance in Christian tradition and history.  Bishop Michael reflects on the narratives theologically and in terms of their power to transform individuals and the church community. His aim is to enable people to ‘make connections’ between liturgy and life, between the story of Jesus and our own story, and so to be receptive to the Holy Spirit’s transforming work. He enthusiastically commends the commemoration of Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection not simply as a reminder of the essentials of our faith, but as a means of entering the stories and discovering their power to make us more like Christ, even and perhaps especially in the face of painful harrowing life experience.

The author’s scholarship and passion is grounded in pastoral wisdom. While underlining the essential character of each liturgy, he offers a range of imaginative and practical suggestions for selecting and, when necessary, sensitively adapting the authorised material to suit a broad spectrum of church situations.

Sue CSF