Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Love in Flesh and Bone: Exploring the Christmas Mystery

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Love in Flesh and Bone: Exploring the Christmas Mystery

Article excerpt

Love in Flesh and Bone: Exploring the Christmas Mystery. By Amy E. Richter and Joseph S. Pagano. Eugene, Ore.: Wipf and Stock, 2014. xv + 122 pp. $19.00 (paper).

This set of nineteen sermons explores not just the Christmas mystery but takes us through the Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany cycle for all the Sundays and major feast days of these seasons. Many of the sermons relate to the lessons for all three years, but particularly those in Advent and Epiphany are focused around a particular years lections, with the greatest number related to year C in the Episcopal edition of the Revised Common Lectionary.

Love in Flesh and Bone seeks to explore the incamational mystery and the nature of embodied faith. Joseph Pagano and Amy Richter deal with recurring themes such as searching, God bringing good from evil, the saerality of the human body, and the importance of experiences of the holy to the Ufe of faith. While the book is based on sermons preached by the authors in a particular congregation in Maryland, it is not altogether clear who the primary audience of these sermons (or the book) really is. The sermons are somewhat generic-with few of the contextual and pastoral markers that make profound preaching as potent or context-specific as current contemporary preaching so often requires.

That lack of specificity is the strength and the weakness of the book. Many Christians can potentially relate to this book, and will find the familiar examples and illustrations helpful. The contextual specificity provided is more about the preachers than the hearers, with examples from the authors' personal fives frequently used to illustrate their points. If indeed the book is aimed at newer Christians who are learning the traditions of the church, it is quite successful in talking about the Christian fife as a journey, the need not to remain on the mountaintop but to return to the place of everyday faith and ministry, and similar classic messages of our tradition. It does this well in very accessible language. …

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