ISBN 9781841014852 (1841014850)
BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship), 2007 (176pp)
Journey to Jerusalem is a set of Bible readings which take us on our own personal Lenten journey by following the journey that Christ took, both physically and spiritually as he set his face towards Jerusalem and the Cross.
The readings are split into four parts:
- Preparing for the journey
- Setting out for Jerusalem
- The destination reached
- Tragedy—and triumph
These sections allow for a change of pace both in the reader and the text. The anticipation of what is already known about the end is tangible as we move from one section, on to the next, and the next. There is a feeling of movement that comes with this approach to the Passion that allows the reader to enter the text in a way which reminded me of the Ignatian lectio divina, in which one dwells in the text to listen for God’s word for them, for that day.
In addition to this meta-narrative which brings us from the ‘preparation’ to the ‘triumph’, there is another thread which was introduced within the whole; on each Sunday the author focuses on the theme of ‘following’, itself following the ‘Lenten discipline of walking the way of the cross.’ Here we listen to the stories of the rich young ruler and Nicodemus, among others. This sub-narrative is cleverly woven into the fabric of the whole so that it does not disturb the journey; it rather complements the whole and allows a brief ‘rest’ on the journey each Sunday.
In addition, because the last reading obviously falls on a Sunday, we end the whole on this sub-narrative as it joins the meta-narrative, and we are charged with the conviction that the journey may have ended in one way, but that it continues in a way that transforms that journey once travelled and which transforms all other journeys in its wake. As the author says,
Now, two millennia later, the disciples of Jesus are still on the long journey of faith and witness, and the risen Lord, as he promised, is still with them wherever they travel.
The journey that Winter takes us on is intentionally focused on the Bible text and spends a lot of time living with the text and unpacking some of the historical background. As I mentioned above this gives a richness which is helpful for a meditative approach to the text. However, there are some places where I would have appreciated some more contemporary applications, or stories, with which to identify. Indeed there are some of these along the way but perhaps not enough for this reader.
Nevertheless this was a really helpful set of Bible readings which accompanied me on my own Lenten journey.
• ebook edition also available: PDF Download, £7.99
Jody Stowell, February 2009
Jody Stowell is a theology student at Spurgeon’s College, which trains baptists for ministry and mission. She, however, is an Anglican, and soon to begin training for ordained ministry in the Church of England. She is also a self-confessed internet junkie and can be found commenting about most things on her own blog www.radical-evanglical.blogspot.com and on Fulcrum forums, where she is on the leadership team.