Acouple of years ago, we published a book of Lenten reflections called Toward What We Can Scarcely Imagine and Scarcely Refuse: A book for Lent. Featuring illustrations by our own Helen Lyons, the text of this book is by Jim Snyder, a Lutheran pastor from Minnesota and someone we consider a friend of saint benedict’s table. With the exception of the first meditation – a sermon for Ash Wednesday entitled Ottla – these reflections are meditations on the “seven words” or the seven sayings which the four Gospels report Jesus to have uttered from the cross. Originally delivered at a Good Friday liturgy at St George’s Anglican Church in Halifax, these addresses engage the words of Christ in a most poignant way. There is substantial depth here, delivered with a bit of grit and a story-teller’s eye to detail, all offered up in the service of the proclamation of grace. In spite of the fact that these addresses were originally delivered on the two most solemn days of the Christian year, they were not without their touches of humour. It was—and is—more than a little clear that Jim Snyder is rather thoroughly, even audaciously, committed to a perspective that says that in Christ the grace of God has trumped all else.
In our edition you will find modestly re-written and edited versions of the original St George’s meditations. Some have resurfaced and been preached in other congregations, and since Jim calls himself “an inveterate editor,” and claims that he is never entirely happy with any sermon, there are bound to have been some shifts and developments over the years. Some editing has also been done to help make the transition from preached sermon to written text, though every effort has been made to maintain the original cadence.
The illustrations are from a series of aquatints of the revised Stations of the Cross, done a few years back by Helen Lyons during the course of her Fine Arts degree. We are fortunate to have Helen as a member of saint benedict’s table, and to count a set of these limited prints as our own.
As is the case with all resources made available through saint benedict’s table, this is a labour of love and a gift to the church, with both Jim and Helen donating their work to us for this project. Bramwell Ryan did the design work on the book, also giving his time as a gift.
We’re so convinced of the importance of this resource that we’ll happily send one to you anywhere in North America for a total of $10, taxes and postage included. All you need to do is contact us, and we’ll put it in motion.