This is a guide to prayer for the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time—that long stretch from Pentecost to Advent. However, it is not an ordinary guide to prayer. It does not contain readings from spiritual or devotional writings, discussing spiritual or devotional things through discursive thought. Rather, it is a journey of the imagination guided by poets and authors, both classic and contemporary, who have known the things of God but speak in metaphor. These are writers who tell the truth, as Emily Dickinson put it, but they “tell it slant.” In not stating out loud what they know, they have left much to our imaginations—which is a way of saying they have trusted the Holy Spirit.
About the Author
Sarah Arthur is a fun-loving speaker and the author of ten books ranging from popular devotionals to serious engagement with theology and literature. A graduate of Wheaton College and Duke Divinity School, she speaks around the country on the role of imagination and narrative in spiritual formation. She is the editor-curator of Paraclete Press’s At the Still Point: A Literary Guide to Prayer in Ordinary Time (2011) and Light Upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany (2014). When she isn’t chasing two small boys around the house, Sarah can be found gardening, writing young adult novels, and volunteering in youth ministry at Sycamore Creek United Methodist Church in Lansing, MI, where her husband, Tom, is pastor. www.saraharthur.info
“As we look toward Lent and Easter, I am happy to recommend a new book by Sarah Arthur, At the Still Point. In this lovely book, the author has compiled selections from Holy Scripture, along with works from 20th century writers to give her reader something new each day. When you are taken unawares in your meditations by a line of poetry from Christina Rosetti or a scene set in a novel by John Irving, Arthur offers new language in various contexts to provoke and to nudge readers toward a quiet moment with God. As we look forward to Jesus rising from his ultimate sacrifice to let us follow him on the road home, we can find a poet, a novelist, an essayist, or a musician to light the path. Enjoy this generous new book in the spirit of love, joy, and thanksgiving.” —Novice Mary Cathryne Vanek, St. Placid Priory
“What a delight to find so extraordinary a collection meant for use in ordinary time! Any book that includes passages from The Wind in the Willows and Moby Dick, as well as poems by George Herbert and Christina Rossetti, is all right with me. Especially because each of the works chosen is meant to awaken me to the movement of the spirit in daily life.” —Kathleen Norris, author of Dakota and CloisterWalk
“Sarah Arthur's anthology of liturgically arranged devotional, literary readings is a creme-de-la-crème book. The passages lovingly collected and arranged are the best available. There is something here for every reader. This book is both a literary treasure store and a devotional feast.” —Leland Ryken, professor of English, Wheaton College; author of Windows to the World: Literature in Christian Perspective