Margaret Guenther is an Episcopal priest, spiritual director, and retreat leader. She is Professor Emerita of The General Theological Seminary and former Director of The Center for Christian Spirituality there. Currently, she serves as Associate Rector at St. Columba's Church in Washington, D.C. In this collection of sermons, stories, and reflections, the author looks at the word sojourner: "It is an Old French word with jour (day) at its heart. It reminds us of our transience and of the inexorable passage of time. It reminds us of our smallness and ultimate powerlessness. It reminds us that we do not own this world but that we are merely passing through. It reminds us that God's time is not our time." Guenther calls herself the Residence Crone at St. Columba's, and that is an appropriate term given the wisdom she brings to us in these pieces.
In two of these reflections, Guenther ponders how difficult it sometimes is for us to get our minds around the prodigal love of God. She has a hard time with the parable of the lord of the manor giving the same wage to the slackers who arrive at the last possible moment as was promised to those who arrived early and skipped lunch to put in the most amount of work. Guenther reminds us that we all have trouble with the concept of a free lunch. But that's exactly what God's extravagant generosity comes down to: a freebie. Why can't we rejoice when others are the beneficiaries of this abundance?
Guenther tackles other poignant themes as well, such as moving, growing old, the magic of words, defending Martha in the Scriptures, spiritual life in cyberspace, holy agnosticism, the importance of asking the right questions, things to never do again, and much more. With so many believers fascinated with heaven and what happens after death, we found Guenther's take on the subject very refreshing: "I love to let my imagination run loose, but, ultimately, I don't care. I don't care because at a deep level I believe Jesus' promise in John's Gospel. He assures us that there are many rooms in his father's house. I don't need to know the floor plan and decor. It is enough that he has promised that he will come and take me to himself. At seventy-three, I have now lived most of my life, at least this part of it and believe with my wise fourteenth-century friend Julian of Norwich that it will ultimately be all right. I'm in no hurry, but when the time comes, it will be one more journey to a new place. There will be a room for me, and it will be a bountiful homecoming." Spoken like a true Crone.