Unless you are a real N.T. Wright geek, you may not know that he published last year a book in England, with the oh-so-British title, The Cross and the Colliery. A colliery, you may want to know (brother Harry: note the similar etymology to collier, as in the sites you are researching), is a coal-mining town. Apparently, decades ago, the Easington Colliery had a terrible mining accident, and they are still in grief and recovery. Wright spoke there, offering a series of Lenten meditations, which were then published by SPCK in England.
Alas, a lovely paperback edition just came out in the states, published by a thoughtful Catholic publisher, with the clearer title Christians at the Cross: Finding Hope in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. You may know our fondness of the brilliant set of daily meditations for Lent by Wright called Reflecting the Glory. That is spectacular, and packed, one of the best collection of short readings you could buy. This, however, is brief and less than jam-packed. It is, though, just enough: “I am convinced,” he writes, “that when we bring our griefs and sorrows within the story of God’s own grief and sorrow, and allow them to be held there, God is able to bring healing to us and new possibilities to our lives.”
You may know that this is a theme that resounds in favorite books here at Hearts & Minds, books like Walsh & Keesmaat’s Colossians Remixed, or the profound book of Advent meditations we were recommending called The Advent of Justice. Wright has written seriously (and has done a DVD on) on this theme in Evil and the Justice of God and book we declared one of the best of the year a year ago. Finding Hope at the Cross is a bit more pastoral, and the photographs of locations in the Easington Colliery area are oddly haunting. This is not new ground, not especially for those of us who recently sang of “comfort & joy” and “life’s crushing load” in these past weeks of Advent. Still, to have perhaps the world’s most famous theologian speak so hopefully about real suffering, well, this may be the best Lenten title we will see this year.
PS: Get ready, as what will surely be one of the very best and most important books of the year, if not our times, the forthcoming hardback N.T. Wright will be called Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, soon to be released by HarperOne. Want to reserve a copy? We’ll be having a sale, soon.
Finding Hope at the Cross: Finding Hope in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus N.T. Wright (The Word Among Us) $10.95.
Hearts & Minds