A Better Song to Sing: Finding life again through the invitations of Jesus

A Better Song to Sing: Finding life again through the invitations of Jesus

Author : Mags Duggan
£8.99

There has to be more than this… because this is no longer enough.

Many sincere followers of Jesus are secretly disappointed, dissatisfied and quietly desperate for more than they are currently experiencing. That more is found as we respond to the invitations of Jesus, which hold out to us the hope of dynamic change, of a truly vibrant, transformed life – a better song to sing. Each chapter explores one specific invitation, drawing out its possible implications for our lives, and suggests a spiritual practice or reflection to help us ground that invitation in our present-day reality.


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Title A Better Song to Sing: Finding life again through the invitations of Jesus
Author Mags Duggan
Description

Many sincere followers of Jesus are secretly disappointed, dissatisfied and quietly desperate for more than they are currently experiencing. That more is found as we respond to the invitations of Jesus, which hold out to us the hope of dynamic change, of a truly vibrant, transformed life – a better song to sing. Each chapter explores one specific invitation, drawing out its possible implications for our lives, and suggests a spiritual practice or reflection to help us ground that invitation in our present-day reality.

Details
  • Product code: 9780857468765
  • Published: 24 July 2020
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • Dimensions: 130mm wide and 198mm high

Many sincere followers of Jesus are secretly disappointed, dissatisfied and quietly desperate for more than they are currently experiencing. That more is found as we respond to the invitations of Jesus, which hold out to us the hope of dynamic change, of a truly vibrant, transformed life – a better song to sing. Each chapter explores one specific invitation, drawing out its possible implications for our lives, and suggests a spiritual practice or reflection to help us ground that invitation in our present-day reality.

Mags was a missionary in Asia for over 20 years before returning to the UK and joining the faculty at Redcliffe College where she lectured on Spiritual Formation and on Soul Care. A retreat leader and spiritual director, she is passionate about helping others nurture their relationship with God in life-giving, life-sustaining ways.

Her critically acclaimed first book is God among the Ruins (BRF, 2018).

Read Mags' Lockdown blog here

 

Tony Horsfall

Personal transformation is at the heart of discipleship yet so many experience only superficial change. Here is a book to take you deeper in the journey to wholeness and Christlikeness and blow away your spiritual blues.

Mags Duggan first helps us to understand the call of Jesus to experience the abundant life he offers. Then she asks us to look inwards, gently inviting us to face up to the issues preventing us from real change. Finally, with much grace, and sharing examples from her own life, she gives us practical tools by which we can find freedom, healing and release.

This is a small book but it packs a big punch. ‘A Better Song to Sing’ will strike the right note for many who long to find greater fulfilment in their walk with God.

 

Irish Methodist Newsletter. Review by Stephen Skuce

‘I have listened to many sincere followers of Jesus as they’ve shared with me how worn out, bored, disappointed and frustrated they feel about the life they are living – and how ashamed and guilty they are for feeling this way’.  We do not always experience life in all its fullness, and Mags Duggan writes to such as us to offer us counsel and pointers in how to follow the nudging of the Holy Spirit that there is indeed much more than many of us are experiencing. ‘Our lives can be full of good and helpful things, our time may be spent well and productively, and yet we can feel like our hearts, our souls, the very core of who we are, are sometimes achingly empty’.

Duggan offers us four spiritual practices that can assist our journeys. She points us to prayers for release, to praying with and through the gospels, to stopping, and circle or Caim prayers that many of us will be familiar with as part of our Celtic Christian heritage.  As I read this book I was reminded of Andrew Roberts’ Holy Habits.  There are a number of such resources that remind us of the practices or habits that support and enhance our faith. 

In A Better Song to Sing Duggan is helping us think specifically about when we have somehow lost the joy of our faith. It's far from a superficial ‘quick fix’ manual, but a text that is challenging as it causes us to look within, and find God’s strength to better emerge out. 

Her comments on ‘stopping’ particularly resonated with me and are based on Mark 6:31-32 where Jesus and the disciples head away to be alone, to find a still point in their day. I have cultivated a daily still point. Part of my fairly minimal contribution to the smooth running of the Skuce household is doing the dishes. There is a dishwasher, but it just sits and stares with reproach at me. I don’t care. When I do the dishes I switch off. I do a simple action that has a start, middle and end. I’ll do it again in the near future, but those particular few dishes are completed. I need to do the dishes on my own but that is likely part of my many personality issues. In the simple task I find stillness, and I know I need to find stillness.

Like a lot of recent BRF books, A Better Song to Sing is a fairly quick read, is straightforward but has depth.  This is well worth reading for more than just encouragement in our faith, but pointers to what actually nourishes us. In the struggles of life that the pandemic has brought, our wellbeing has come a bit more to the fore. This is just the sort of book to help our faith better help our whole being.

Reviewed by Revd Dr Stephen Skuce, District Superintendent, North Western District

 

Catherine Young, Director, Global Language and Development Services
International Language Services SIL

The opening pages of this book recount a memorable scene from 'Educating Rita' when Rita’s mother sobs 'There must be better songs to sing than this,' and my heart lurched because that has, on numerous occasions, been the cry of my heart – there must be more to life than what feels mundane and pedestrian.

I follow the living God and I crave 'life in all its fullness'. Mags Duggan's book spoke to my heart, my soul and will, I trust, enable me to confidently, enthusiastically, willing and without fear put my trust in the One who has invited me to step to the edge and fly. 

The invitations of Jesus, spread through the New Testament,  encourage me to draw close to Him and grow in trust of the One who loves me and remind me that I am precious to Him. He yearns for me to respond. Why do I hesitate, I wonder? Each chapter of this book examines a different Biblical invitation and, in a wonderfully accessible style, challenges me to wholeness and new vibrancy in my walk with Christ.

Mags’ writing – beautifully rich with metaphor - integrates rigorous theological reflection, reflections from her own extensive cross-cultural experience and references to popular culture which emphasises the holistic nature of the call to wholeness. I particularly appreciated the spiritual exercises that are included at the end of each chapter. They caused me to take each chapter and reflect – to consume each chapter carefully in small bites rather than guzzle the complete book hungrily in a few short sittings.  

The image of the desert in Chapter 3 was particularly meaningful to me: the unproductive expanse that needs to be watered in order to yield the harvest that was intended. I feel thirsty, I know I am thirsty but I need to intentionally and deliberately drink to experience the 'hydrated soul' through which life and energy can flow to bring refreshment to the parched spirit of others.  The final chapter brings the message of the book to a resounding crescendo underscoring that there is risk in commitment – but also joy, hope and freedom.

Reviewed by Catherine Young