An Advent Manifesto

An Advent Manifesto

Author : Martyn Percy
£9.99

BRF’s Advent book, written by Martyn Percy

The message of the kingdom of God: an ecology of equality and peace, and an economy of justice. Hope from beyond, sent to the present, is what Advent asks us to reckon with. Hope consists of God’s jump leads sent from the future through time and space, wired right into our present pains, panics, and predicaments. How can the light of Christ illuminate this present darkness? This book engages with two great Christmas hymns: the Magnificat and Benedictus. It is also rooted in poets, prophets and the theology and devotional writing of the black theologian and mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Thurman. Using the lectio divina approach to passages drawn from Isaiah and Luke, An Advent Manifesto is an invitation to pray and practise that most ancient Advent prayer, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come.’ Worried that your book won't arrive in time for the start of An Advent Manifesto's readings? Don't be, we've put together a digital download of the first week so you can stay up to date while your book is on the way, we've got you covered! Just click on the Look Inside button to view.



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Title An Advent Manifesto
Author Martyn Percy
Description

The message of the kingdom of God: an ecology of equality and peace, and an economy of justice. Hope from beyond, sent to the present, is what Advent asks us to reckon with. Hope consists of God’s jump leads sent from the future through time and space, wired right into our present pains, panics, and predicaments. How can the light of Christ illuminate this present darkness? This book engages with two great Christmas hymns: the Magnificat and Benedictus. It is also rooted in poets, prophets and the theology and devotional writing of the black theologian and mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Thurman. Using the lectio divina approach to passages drawn from Isaiah and Luke, An Advent Manifesto is an invitation to pray and practise that most ancient Advent prayer, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come.’ Worried that your book won't arrive in time for the start of An Advent Manifesto's readings? Don't be, we've put together a digital download of the first week so you can stay up to date while your book is on the way, we've got you covered! Just click on the Look Inside button to view.

Details
  • Product code: 9781800390942
  • Published: 18 August 2023
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • Dimensions: 130mm wide and 198mm high

The message of the kingdom of God: an ecology of equality and peace, and an economy of justice. Hope from beyond, sent to the present, is what Advent asks us to reckon with. Hope consists of God’s jump leads sent from the future through time and space, wired right into our present pains, panics, and predicaments. How can the light of Christ illuminate this present darkness? This book engages with two great Christmas hymns: the Magnificat and Benedictus. It is also rooted in poets, prophets and the theology and devotional writing of the black theologian and mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Thurman. Using the lectio divina approach to passages drawn from Isaiah and Luke, An Advent Manifesto is an invitation to pray and practise that most ancient Advent prayer, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come.’ Worried that your book won't arrive in time for the start of An Advent Manifesto's readings? Don't be, we've put together a digital download of the first week so you can stay up to date while your book is on the way, we've got you covered! Just click on the Look Inside button to view.

The Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy is the former Dean of Christ Church, Oxford and from 2004 to 2014 was Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon. Prior to that he was Director of the Lincoln Theological Institute and has also been Chaplain and Director of Studies at Christ’s College, Cambridge. He writes and teaches on culture, faith, values and public life. 

 

Transforming Ministry online, November 2023. Review by Betty Taylor

There are many good books which steer us through the Advent season, but this has a somewhat different approach and gives a fresh insight into this special time of year. The title presents us with a challenge from the outset. Will we take the manifesto of Jesus – love for absolutely everyone – out into the world, and play our part in establishing God’s kingdom?

Martyn Percy’s language is blunt, soul-searching and not for the faint-hearted. We are to become immersed in penitence and expectancy, seeing Christianity as a political faith for the present, and a continuing of God’s work until Jesus comes again.

For those favouring a structured approach, you will not be disappointed. During the four weeks of Advent, beginning on the Monday leading up to Advent Sunday, each weekday has a reflection exclusively from the first few chapters of Luke’s gospel. These are examined from a Lectio Divina perspective, connecting us more intimately with the living God, and encouraging us to be transformed through the sacred reading of Scripture. Each weekend has a longer meditation centred on canticles from Isaiah, to be absorbed on both Saturday and Sunday – days of anticipation and resurrection. The Advent antiphons are appropriately included, and the twelve days of Christmas covered, taking us to Epiphany and onward to Candlemas. Each reflection comes with a prayer and ideas for further contemplation.

What an achievement! Ancient traditions lifted into the present, beautiful songs of Magnificat and Benedictus revisited, poets and prophets interspersed, and modern devotional writers playing their part! A perfect choice for Advent study – do not let this one slip away!

Reviewed by Betty Taylor: www.transformingministry.co.uk/book-reviews/2023-4-winter-advent/ 

 

Church Matters: Books for Today 17.11.23. Review by Paul Beasley-Murray

An Advent Manifesto by Martyn Percy, former dean of Christ Church, Oxford, consists of readings, prayers, and ‘contemplations’, which stretch from the beginning of Advent right through to Candlemas in February. This is a ‘political’ book for it engages with 'the business of who receives what, when, where and how'. The author has an attractive writing style. Without hesitation I warmly commend this study guide.

 

Church Times 27.10.23. Review by Peter McGeary

They say that less is more. The most memorable sermons in my experience have been concise and apparently spontaneous. Anyone can go on and on about a given subject; it takes real skill and time to boil down what one wants to say to a few paragraphs.

Advent is in many ways my favourite part of the liturgical year. Frustratingly brief, it is bursting with themes of memory, presence, and expectation. There is too much to take in in the time available, it would seem, which can make Advent a tricky season to write about.

Martyn Percy has spent a lot of his ministry in academic circles, but in this book he wears his learning lightly. The principle of ‘less is more’ applies here. In this series of daily reflections, Percy concentrates on drilling down into passages from the prophet Isaiah, and the beginning of St Luke’s Gospel. He resists the temptation to use a wide variety of scriptural texts (there is enough of that in the liturgical lectionary already), and this gives his book a deeper focus on particular texts.

Each week of Advent has a particular overarching text from Luke (annunciation, visitation, Magnificat, and Benedictus). Weekdays consist of a short reflection on a section of the text, followed by a prayer and some points for contemplation. A slight change of gear at the weekend comprises a canticle from Isaiah, reflection, prayer, and contemplation intended more to link up with that Sunday’s liturgy.

There is a shift again in the days before and after Christmas, and there is material, too, for the new year and the feasts of the Epiphany and Candlemas. This format works well, because there is deliberately not too much to take in: the author knows that we will be busy with other things; so any Advent discipline that we give ourselves needs to be do-able.

This book would be a good way of taking a short time each day to remind ourselves of the ancient themes of Advent, not as an exercise in spiritual archaeology, but as a way of making present the ancient challenges of the season: calls to repentance and change, that we might find again, in the author’s words, ‘the politics of paradise and consequences of God’s love’.

The Revd Peter McGeary is the Vicar of St Mary’s, Cable Street, in east London, and a Priest-Vicar of Westminster Abbey.

Baptist Times online. Reviewed by John Matthews

This is an interesting volume with some differences from other Advent books. One is that Percy uses the Revised New Jerusalem Bible. He explains why at the end.

Another is that, rather than ranging over a wide variety of scriptures, which he calls the ‘snacking approach’, Percy limits himself to the first two chapters of Luke’s gospel on weekdays and passages from Isaiah at weekends. On some days just a verse or two is offered for reflection. 

A third difference is that Percy’s approach is not to exegete the text but to approach it from the point of view of ‘lectio divina’ or sacred reading. He explains the four steps of this, along with much else, in the 20 pages which precede the daily comments.

Far from expounding the short passage for the day, many of Percy’s comments, although often insightful and worthwhile, make no reference at all to the text or its subject matter. This allows him to range more widely, including some interesting comments on Aramaic concerning the beatitudes and some new beatitudes from the poet, Scott Cairns, and Pope Francis.

Each day’s reflection is followed by a prayer, and a question and comment for contemplation. The inside covers include colour illustrations of two nativity paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, which Percy discusses. These are good to have, though rather small.

Some of the author’s phrases are striking, like ‘grace is expansive as well as expensive’ (124) and ‘John the Baptist did not prepare the way for something that would be conformist, comfortable or convenient’ (192).

Others are more questionable. Is God really like a prowling lion, ready to pounce? (51) And did the angels really sing to the shepherds ‘because no one else was listening’? (177).

The book takes us beyond Advent and Christmas into Epiphany and also includes a week beginning with Candlemas. So there is more material here than in most Advent books.

If you like a ‘day-by-day’ Advent book, and are open to something a bit different, this one is worth a try.

John Matthews is a retired Baptist minister living in Rushden, Northants.