This buoyant and Spirit-filled collection of meditations on living under the graceful auspices of God marks the North American publishing debut of Mike Riddell, who hails from Dunedin, New Zealand, where he writes and lectures at the University of Otago. The author, who is a regular columnist for the British magazine Third Way, has a firm grasp on the adventurousness of the Christian journey. He uses the following image to convey the unknown quotient in our spiritual quest: "We are all of us trapeze artists; to get from one side to the other we have to be willing to let go of the trapeze we are holding, and hang on for a few moments in suspended animation before we grasp the next support on our own wild ride into the unknown."
While many in our culture of multiple diversions and countless distractions have lost their way, we are awed by the idea that God is our traveling companion. She spurs us on to the next horizon, and according to Riddell, may even be the source of our soul's yearning to move to greater depths of meaning.
Riddell salutes those who find stout-hearted fellow travelers to share this spiritual journey. He remembers that Jesus told his disciples that he regarded them as friends. We all need the support of other people as we square off against obstacles and challenges to our perseverance.
Again and again, Riddell salutes the power of God's ministrations in our lives: "Grace streams into life as eagerly and freely as sunlight, and we find ourselves strangely warmed whenever it touches us." It is this grace that helps us cope with the art of leaving, the blade of the moment, letting go, disappointment, and pain and death.
We were especially impressed with Riddell's honest and accessible comments on patience. At one point, he writes: "Patience is not only a virtue, but an attitude to life which can be achieved solely through attention to the inner journey. . . . I have been slowly and incrementally learning that all my desperation to lay hold of the future does little except devalue the present."
Sacred Journey by Mike Riddell reveals some of the profound blessings and inspiring sights along the Christian path. It also contains some very fine teaching stories from Anthony DeMello, Paulo Coehlo, and Henri J. M. Nouwen.