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VINE VOICEon 20 December 2014
“Choose Life” is a collection of the Christmas and Easter Sermons of Bishop Rowan Williams, when he was Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 – 2012.
The book is split into two sections for Christmas and Easter, which makes it ideal for devotional or daily readings in Advent and Lent seasons. This is what I did, and have found Bishop Williams to be a trusted and wise companion on these journeys.
His essays reference contemporary events, literature, and music to illustrate these events that changed the world. He is preaching to crowds that he knows will crowd the cathedral pews with attitudes ranging from bored duty, scepticism and hostility, as well as devotion. He knows he has to challenge and inspire his listeners, challenge them with the concept of God both becoming a vulnerable human baby, and dying a torturous death, and what it has meant and means to our world, and how we can respond. If we listen to Bishop Williams, really listen, then indifference becomes impossible. And that’s what he repeatedly asks for, that we stop, and see, that we step off the treadmill for a moment and leave room for reflection and wonder, leave room for God to plant a seed. He knows that few will leave instant converts, that lasting change is often gradual change, a journey that is lived through a lifetime. This I how I have come to see spiritual growth, a journey filled with joy and revelation and blessings and grace, yes, but also false starts, reversions, frustrations, doubt, pain, disillusionment. The cock crows for us as well as Peter, but then time and again we find something that feeds us and sets us back on the path.
To me these essays have been an anchor in choppy seas, the counsel of someone who burns with intelligence, grace and God’s love.
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on 25 October 2013
The only problem for a preacher reading these sermons by Archbishop Rowan Williams is the temptation to lift whole passages for one's own use. What a feast! Christmas dinner for the soul and Easter too.
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on 27 May 2013
Excellent addresses from a spiritual man full of wisdom. He makes the timeless historical event so relevant to modern times
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on 8 February 2015
Some of the most thoughtful, thought-provoking and considered sermons given at Christmas and Easter during Williams's time as Archbishop of Canterbury. A joy to read and accessible to all - unlike some of his books!! I read one a day for three weeks and found them profound, intelligent, relevant and pertinent, as if the Word of God was in the hands of a master expositor.....which it was.
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on 27 February 2014
Over the period of his incumbency as Archbishop of Canterbury,these are the Christmas and Easter sermons preached at Canterbury Cathedral, giving a wonderful overview of the ten years. References to current affairs at the time of the sermon give a good anchor, and an opportunity to recall the events referred to. Rowan Williams is not always renowned for clarity but these sermons are beautifully written and accessible; but with some needing a bit more time to take in. Well worth reading more than once.
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on 10 November 2015
Easy to read; you can pick it up at any time and read one sermon and come back to read the next when you have a few spare minutes.
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on 23 July 2014
Worth reading again and again.
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on 2 June 2013
Anything he writes is well worth reading. These sermons however are superb. Many clergy and layfolk will find this a reeal treasure.
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