The Christian Book of Mystical Verse: A Collection of Poems, Hymns, and Prayers for Devotional Reading (a review)

The Christian Book of Mystical Verse: A Collection of Poems, Hymns, and Prayers for Devotional ReadingThe Christian Book of Mystical Verse: A Collection of Poems, Hymns, and Prayers for Devotional Reading by A.W. Tozer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Tozer introduces this slim volume as for the worshiper. I grew up on hymns and praise songs and since they dwell deep in my heart and memory, at any time that I desire to worship God in song, I am able to do so. Tozer rightly points out that over time we’ve lost our spiritual heritage of English language verse. It is his recommendation that the book be used as needed for private devotion, whether reading one selection or several.

I began by reading through the first section on the Adoration of the Godhead, and found quickly that I responded best to the writings by reading aloud. The selections are arranged topically and include among others “Penitential Reflections on our Sins”, “Rejoicing in Forgiveness and Justification”, and “The Prayer of Quiet”.

Tozer has selected verse that is sound in theology and is “mystical” – he defines the mystic as one who is in “intimate fellowship with the Godhead”. I include the below description from the introduction because it really sets the tone of the book and subsequent personal worship:

“He [the mystic] differs from the orthodox Christian only because he experiences his faith down in the depths of his sentient being while the others do not. He exists in a world of spiritual reality. He is quietly, deeply, and sometimes almost ecstatically aware of the Presence of God in his own nature and in the world around him.”

I thought that the book would be helpful to me as a teacher and for those I consider students (Women’s Ministry) as I sometimes like to share selections for meditation or study. This book is not for that. However, I’ve already thought of those who might use the poems, hymns, and prayers Tozer has collected for their own private worship as I have. It is a gift to the heart that longs to cry out to God in a way that is beautiful.

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The Last Battle (review)

The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia, #7)The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is the first book I’ve wished for a “re-read” option on goodreads. because I cannot stress enough how important I think it is for you to know I love it enough to frequently re-read it.

The final volume in the Chronicles of Narnia, we see the Eustace and Jill return to Narnia, only not as they are used to it. Animals are treated like animals – trees cut down without concern for their very real souls (remember it is fantasy). I loved the descriptions of the two worlds (ours and Narnia) and the idea that such a thing could be a reality isn’t so far-fetched as you might think, as Lewis helps us to see God as bigger than we’ve imagined.

The end perfectly captured the poignancy of leaving the earth for an unknown – and in faith in an extraordinary God.

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Thank God for Roller Coasters

Last week, following the first week of school, my mother and I took my two children to Knoebels Grove (you pronounce the “k”). For my children it was their third trip to the park this summer. For those of you unlucky enough to have never heard of such a place, you must know that it is a hidden paradise in Central Pennsylvania. It’s free to enter, free to park, and my six and three year old children rode a huge variety of children’s rides for $9 each. That’s right – unlimited amusement park fun for less than $20 for the four of us.

Anyway, before the night ended at 10:00PM, I indulged in one single, $1.50 roller coaster ride. I stood in line for about five minutes in the special line for those who like the very first car, and then entirely on my own, I went for a roller coaster ride on the Phoenix.

What is the Phoenix? A beautiful wooden roller coaster originally built in 1947 as “The Rocket” in a San Antonio amusement park and moved in 1985 to Knoebels, it is known for it’s airtime and the delicious sensation of a wooden structure that shakes, sways, and rattles.

The ride begins with a short ride through a tunnel, which at 9:45PM is pitch black. The night was cool. The sky was clear. As we made the ascension in the comparative light, I stared up at the dark night sky and I said “Thank you God, for roller coasters”. And then I held on.

It’s been a good summer. I have had much to be thankful for and I love expressing my gratitude to the Father for each wonderful moment. But on that last day of my summer, I felt His presence most at the top of a rickety wooden hill, and I smiled.

<image credit because I was afraid to photograph while riding>