Skip to main content

Between Midnight and Dawn









Between Midnight and Dawn, Compiled by Sarah Arthur

This vibrant and rich collection of stories, poems, and prayers that connects Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide is a wonderful compilation.  Called Between Midnight and Dawn, compiled by Sarah Arthur, each an Opening Prayer, Scriptures, Literary Readings (both contemporary and older), personal prayer and reflections, including a closing prayer at the end.  Beginning on Ash Wednesday and concluding in Eastertide Week 7, the collection spans a broad range of themes from repentance to consolation and deliverance.  The entries are rich with interesting stories and beautiful poems, that each reader is sure to find something that catches their spirit. 

In the first entry on Ash Wednesday, included is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story called the The Minister’s Black Veil in which Reverend Mr. Hooper came to the pulpit one Sunday wearing a black veil.  The crowd bemused that he had gone mad or weren’t even sure it was him.  But Hawthorne says of his oratory, “It was tinged (his discourse) rather more darkly than usual with the gentle gloom of Mr. Hooper’s temperament.  The subject had reference to secret sin and those sad mysteries which we hide from our nearest and dearest, and would fain conceal from our own consciousness, even forgetting that the Omniscient can detect them.” (24)  The simple appearance of the black veil caused one lady to say, “How strange that a simple black veil, such as any woman might wear on her bonnet, should become such a terrible thing on Mr. Hooper’s face!” (25)  The theme of the disquieting of sin and the terribleness of it was demonstrated quite evidently in the appearance of such a veil.

Another great feature of the book is incorporating contemporary poets in the collection.  One of my favorite poets of the whole is Luci Shaw.  In her poem on Matthew 20:26 she writes,

You practiced a radical sociology:
rehabilitating call girls and con men.
You valued women and other minority groups.
 A family practitioner, you specialized in heart transplants. (83)

The all-including ministry of Jesus is here on display and his endeavor to bring to the kingdom the dregs of society and bring them into the foreground.  Luci captures this ministry by seeing Jesus as a family doctor, bringing new hearts to the sick, a beautiful metaphor that really touches the hearty of his ministry. 

From Dickens to Shaw, from John Donne to Adichie, these entries bring out the best and worst of human nature, and be doing so illuminate the seasons of Lent and Eastertide.  For those who love great writing and seasons of the church calendar, this collection is not to be missed.

Thanks to Paraclete Press for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Growing up with the NIV, the NKJV was not a bible I was familiar with.  This new NKJV Study Bible takes all of the features of the Thomas Nelson Study Bible and makes them better.  Right out of the box I noticed that the Bible was considerably lighter than most study bibles I have read.  Further, the text font was much larger than most study editions, although I’m not quite sure of the size. The aquamarine color was a great touch and the Bible was finely put together, enduring the wear of many coming years of use.
Why is this Bible worth the purchase?  First, the study notes were great for extra handling of particular confusing and messy areas of Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  Yet, the study notes aren’t an obstruction to the reading of the biblical text.  Clearly, the editors have taken great care in making the text stand out and the notes illuminate certain themes and areas of Scripture.  Second, the NKJV takes into account all t…