Sensing the Divine - Book Review

Sensing the Divine - Book Review

Sensing the Divine: John's word made flesh

Sensing the Divine - Review by Susan Durber, Minister of Taunton URC, Somerset

Andrew Mayes is Spirituality Adviser for the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus, and brings to his ministry and to this book a deep knowledge of the Middle East, especially the places where Jesus’ ministry took place. If John’s gospel has a reputation for being abstract and conceptual, this book helps any reader to see it as profoundly rooted in the realities of daily life, in a particular place and time. It dwells on time and place, on empirical experiences of taste, touch, sight, sound and smell, and how God is made known in such ways. The book urges us to ‘unfold the sensuous gospel’ and reminds us that this is the gospel in which the Word becomes flesh.

The book moves through the senses, exploring how they emerge in John’s gospel and adding varied and liberal quotations from Christian history on each of the senses too. There is plenty of material here for someone preparing a retreat, or the book could work as a kind of retreat for a lone reader too: it has questions for reflection as well as narrative and biblical study.

The book offers some fascinating insights into the gospel and, for me, these were the most helpful sections. There are so many distinctive things about John’s gospel – the Bethesda story, and miracle at Cana, and the many references to ‘the garden’, among them. It is good to notice how much Jesus goes on pilgrimage in this gospel and to reflect on all that might signify.

From Reform magazine July - August 2019

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