Stations of the Resurrection: From Easter to Pentecost by Richard Q Greatrex
The author of this profoundly stimulating volume reckons that often folk are so weary after 40 days of Lent that the 50-day season of Eastertide gets too little attention. As we live in a resurrection world he wants to offer the reader Stations of the Resurrection. This he does with depth and relish, providing 16 stations or moments for prayer and reflection.
As a pastor with a penchant for liturgy and the arts, Greatrex presents what is becoming a growing contemporary devotional, spiritual and liturgical practice. He travels with the reader from the sealed tomb to the wind and fire of Pentecost. Each episode has an opening response, followed by a scripture reading. He then provides his own reflection and a prayer, ending with a closing response.
His series of reflections and prayers are rich, deep, sometimes fresh and startling as he accompanies the reader. He begins with the sealed tomb, followed by the resurrection. The stone sealing the tomb is found rolled away; the women come to the tomb and meet the risen Lord. Peter and John run to the tomb and see angels in the empty tomb. Then Mary Magdalen meets the risen Lord before the author takes the reader on the road to Emmaus and supper there. There is a special meeting with Peter, with the other disciples, and with Thomas. The meeting over breakfast by the Sea of Tiberias is capped by the ascension and Pentecost itself.
The author's choice of art works is challengingly different from what might be expected. Apart from a Duccio di Buoninsegna and a fourteenth century manuscript illustration by Lorenzo Monaco, the author introduces more modern artists, some of them perhaps new and unexpected: Ben Nicholson, Georgia O'Keeffe, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Paul Gauguin, Elisabeth Frink, James Tissot, Samuel Palmer, Paul Nash, Henry Moore, William Blake and Piet Mondrian.
For personal or community use, this is a superb addition to resurrection prayer literature - and not just for use during Eastertide. It will stretch and deepen whoever dares to delve into this rich quarry of spiritual delights and will present fresh insights and challenge. The author even provides extra prayers, plus pictorial representations for producing your own stations of the resurrection. This book is a real find!
The final word must go to the author, when Greatrex says in his Pentecost reflection: "The resurrection began with a great boulder of limestone sealing Jesus' body into the tomb. To all intents and purposes, it was a full stop, the end of the story. But with God there is no full stop [.], only an ellipsis […]; there is no end, for the journey continues and we have only to pinch our own flesh to know what the body of Christ feels like today. The commands are still the same - 'Go, make disciples, baptise and teach' - yet the promise too remains as fresh as it was to that first band of followers: Christ will be with us, even until the end of time."
Stations of the Resurrection: From Easter to Pentecost is available from Redemptorist Publications, www.rpbooks.co.uk
Redemptorist Publications, pbk, 125 pages, 2019, £12.99
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