Saturday, May 6, 2017
Review of Attend: Forty Soul Stretches Toward God
Attend: Forty Soul Stretches Toward God is a book written to gently turn your face to Christ in the midst of everyday life.
Werezak defines "attend" as literally meaning "to stretch toward." Throughout the book she is cutting a trail toward more awareness of God's presence in our life, more attention to his love and grace at work around us, and a deeper relationship with the Savior of our souls.
This gift book-sized volume is organized into four parts: Returning, Rest, Quietness, and Trust. In Part One Werezak begins with activities such as opening a window, making your bed, cleaning up a mess, or sending a handwritten note. Each activity is short, written as a sort of devotional to help your mind begin to think in God's direction. Opening a window helps us to think about the wind that we will allow into our home space, the connection it will bring with the outdoors, the ventilation it will provide, and ultimately the spiritual metaphor of opening our hearts to the presence of God's Holy Spirit.
Part Two of the book moves on to Rest. Here we are exhorted to take a walk, play with a child, pray a prayer already written down, or read a spiritual classic before bed. Taking a walk can provide a few moments in the day for our thoughts to turn to God. Or, perhaps for us to ponder the frailty of our human condition as our muscles ache and bones complain. Werezak encourages us to take time to express gratefulness to God for nature, for the place we have to walk, for this momentary break in our day.
Part Three deals with Quietness. Werezak's ideas include: making something with your hands, giving a gift, watching a sunset, sitting with someone in pain. Think of the quietness required to sit with someone in pain -- the willingness to surrender control, to give up on fixing the situation, to bow in humility to difficult reality. God reveals himself as Immanuel -- God with us. God with us in our pain. Imitate God by taking time to be there for someone who is in a painful situation.
Part Four concludes the book with Trust. Activities in this section include rocking a child to sleep, giving up something you can't imagine living without, listening to someone you love, and asking someone for help. Werezak explores the ideas of learning to open up and trust others and draws the book to a close sharing her own experience of drawing close to God again after a time of feeling very far and distant from him.
I would recommend this book as a thoughtful addition to your daily Bible study, or perhaps as reading during a regular coffee or tea break, or even right before you drift off to sleep at night.
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