"The story of Christianity is about the mending of the world so that broken bones may rejoice. Christianity is a passion for reconciliation and resurrection. It is the story of a pilgrimage towards wholeness in companionship with every human being," writes Alan Jones, an Episcopal priest and dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. This paperback is divided into three sections: The Lenten Journey, The Week of Crucifixion, and The Call to Glory. Together, they explore the passion, pilgrimage, and the longing for home. The essential message of this season of the church year for Christians is: 'Come home! All is forgiven!' Many of the unchurched do yearn to hear those words but oftentimes the faithful have been reluctant to speak them with conviction and enthusiasm! They are so radical!
It is refreshing to hear the prophetic words of Rabbi Abraham Heschel, which Jones quotes proudly:
"Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, stupid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship, by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion its message becomes meaningless."
The Passion and Easter can lift people out of the doldrums. "Spiritual maturity is a process of withdrawal from whatever dulls our pain and erodes our capacity for wonder," Jones proclaims as he circles around the Lenten agenda of freedom. The liberty of the children of God comes from the love that will not let us go. As he moves through the velocities of Easter, Jones points out that it is not a puzzling doctrine but a manifesto to live fully a resurrection life right now. In an inspired passage (see excerpt), he relates the resurrection to the spiritual practice of hospitality. He concludes: "The indiscriminate welcoming of all people to the Supper of the Lamb is very threatening. The notion that everybody is welcome radically reorders the world." Jones hits the mark with this inspiring work.