Redeeming Reads

Jesus: A Pilgrimage

Walk in the footsteps of Jesus with a gifted storyteller in Jesus: A Pilgrimage.  Part travel narrative, part devotional, and part history, this New York Times bestseller by Rev. James Martin, SJ, looks at Jesus as he appears in the Gospel through the lens of faith.  You will visit the significant places in Jesus’s ministry:  Galilee, Capernaum, Bethesda, Jericho, Bethany, Jerusalem, Gethsemane and Emmaus.  It may surprise you to learn how close many of these locations were to each other.  You will also read that Jesus and his disciples walked from Jerusalem to Jericho.  When you learn it takes an hour to drive that distance you suddenly realize just how difficult that “walk” would have been.

     Rev. Martin invites us to appreciate Jesus as fully human and reminds us that our faith is not in an institution but in a person: Jesus.  He concentrates on Jesus’s public ministry, through his last days, death and resurrection. The description of each locale helps you imagine where Jesus may have stood and what he may have seen.  Rev. Martin offers personal reflections, spiritual insights and corresponding Gospel passages for each stop along the pilgrimage.  (Tip: Google will even help you get a visual of each place.)

     For many, traveling to the Holy Land is a life changing experience.  This engaging pilgrimage can deepen your faith without leaving home.  

     Jesus: A Pilgrimage is available in our church library and at the Saline District Library.  It is also available from most booksellers.

The Hiding Place

Nazi occupation of Holland in World War II occurred without warning, and almost immediately, the persecution of Jews was evident.  In The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom relates the dramatic story of her family’s effort to hide Jews from arrest and deportation.  At great risk to themselves, they partnered with the Dutch resistance to relocate Jews, but nearly always several persons were secreted in their home.   Pastor Tom’s recent weekly update inspired me to re-read Corrie’s personal account of this captivating story of courage, forgiveness, and unwavering faith.

     Most ten Boom family members were eventually arrested due to their underground work.  Corrie, her sister Betsie, and her father were deported to concentration camps.  Many of us have seen movies or read about the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.  This book contains uncomfortable descriptions of those camps. But what it also contains is uplifting testimony of God’s power to sustain and provide for us even in the daily presence of overwhelming evil.  Armed with their Christian beliefs and a Bible that they were able to hide, Corrie and Betsie shared God’s promise and hope with fellow prisoners throughout their internment.

     Corrie survived the war and returned to Holland where she organized transitional housing for the many souls damaged by their own experience in concentration camps or four years of hiding in attic rooms and back closets. Traveling throughout Europe and the United States to raise funds for her ministry, she soon recognized the greatest need was in postwar Germany where there was a pressing need for homes.  Corrie writes: “When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”  God not only provided the love – and Corrie admitted it took a lot – God provided a former concentration camp that was soon converted to living quarters for homeless German people.

     There are many lessons in Corrie's biographical narrative.  Among others these include recovery from shattered dreams; getting along with less; security in the midst of insecurity; dealing with difficult people; forgiveness; and what to do when evil wins.  Corrie is quoted saying, “Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”

     The Hiding Place is authored by Corrie ten Boom with Elizbeth Sherrill.  It is available from booksellers.  Recommended by Sue Snow.