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Book Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Marking Time
Christian Rituals for All Our Days
Linda Witte Henke
Morehouse 08/01 Paperback $16.95
ISBN: 0-8192-1859-6


The pace of modern life is frantic. We rise early in the morning to face the relentless demands of the day and then the seeming swiftness of the coming of night. We have so little time, or perhaps more appropriately stated, we make so little time to acknowledge and honor the many transitions in our lives — those moments given to us by God that alter the shape, direction, and quality of our days.

In this accessible and very needed paperback, Lutheran minister, retreat facilitator, and seminar leader Henke has crafted a series of 40 Christian rituals. The book is divided into four thematic sections — celebration, consecration, encouragement, and comfort. The rituals draw on scripture, the church's liturgical patterns, tangible symbols, and the use of touch through the sharing of the peace or the laying of on hands. Her guidelines to ritual observances are astute and helpful — especially the last one: "Remember that God comes to us in the unexpected. Be diligent in preparing for a ritual's use but flexible in your experience of it. Open your heart to surprise and make room for spontaneity."

Among the rituals included in this enriching and practical resource are ones for celebrating the birth of a child, gathering for a family reunion, a child's first day of school, retirement from one's life work, surgery, when violence has been experienced, and the anniversary of a loved one's death. Hopefully, Henke's visionary efforts here will embolden many more Christian communities to bring the Divine Presence into the midst of everyday transitions.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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