This Hallelujah Banquet
By Eugene H. Peterson (WaterBrook Publishing)
Editors at WaterBrook Publishing have given Christian readers a wonderful gift for the new year by compiling nine sermons Eugene Peterson, beloved translator of The Message, preached at Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Md. Subtitled “How the End of What We Were Reveals Who We Can Be,” this insightful book focuses on the New Testament book of Revelation.
As readers familiar with Peterson’s work would expect, he doesn’t tediously speculate about End Times events or timelines, nor does he spend undue time deciphering cryptic symbols. Instead, he concentrates on Christ’s message to the seven churches in Asia, as recorded in the second and third chapters of Revelation. Peterson describes how each church faced a specific test of faith—love, suffering, truth, holiness, reality, witness and commitment. Bookending the sermons on those seven tests are two other messages that manage to be simultaneously timely and timeless—“The End is Where We Start” and “The Supper of the Lamb: A Benediction.”
The editors include a guide for prayer and personal devotions, well-suited to Lent or any other time of spiritual renewal. The guide simply includes a brief quote from each sermon, along with a question to ponder and pages on which to write reflections. I read the book in one afternoon, but I’ll spend several weeks leading up to Easter reflecting on what it says.
Ken Camp, managing editor