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Christmas and Easter sermons by Rowan Williams

A valuable record of one theologian’s ability to open up the familiar stories in fresh ways

Rowan Williams Choose Life250Choose Life: Christmas and Easter Sermons in Canterbury Cathedral
By Rowan Williams
Bloomsbury, 2013
ISBN: 978-1408190388
Reviewed by Andy Goodliff

Since stepping down as Archbishop we have had a steady flow of new publications from Rowan Williams – many of them versions of the Lent Lectures he gave each year in Canterbury Cathedral during his ten years in post. Let me just say here Being Christian is one of the most readable and brilliant introductions to what baptism, the Bible, the Eucharist and prayer are all about.

Choose Life is a book of the sermons he gave as Archbishop at every Christmas and Easter service. They are a record of one theologian’s ability to open up the familiar stories in fresh ways.

Preaching as Archbishop in Canterbury Cathedral every year is not like what most of us who are ministers in the local church find ourselves doing on Christmas Day or Easter Sunday. We are often preaching, or giving a brief talk, in a short all-age service.

These sermons are public addresses, the content of which appeared in the newspapers the next day. In that way there are perhaps not many gems for the desperate church minister looking for a new Christmas or Easter talk. They should be read then not as a gospel-made-simple message, but as a means of opening up the birth and resurrection of Jesus in ways that nourish the mind.

They are perhaps best read, during the 12 Days of Christmas or the 50 Days of Easter as a means of attending to these central moments of our faith. Long may Rowan continue to help us think about our faith and offer us a vision to live it out.

The Revd Andy Goodliff is minister of Belle Vue Baptist Church, Southend-on-Sea


Baptist Times, 19/02/2016
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