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Friday, 16 March 2007

Seven Last Words by: Timothy Radcliffe OP

Seven Last Words
Timothy Radcliffe OP
Novalis
ISBN: 2895075743

This book is a mix of meditation’s, personal reflections and a view of hope both personal hope and hope for the human race. Written in a post 9/11 world this book looks at the cross as a historical reality and a message to each and every generation. Radcliffe as Prior of the Dominican’s has spent most of the last 10 years traveling the world interacting with members of his community around the world and other Christians during his travels brings a unique perspective to these meditations.

Each meditation is accompanied by an image of a cross from Radcliffe’s collection. Each has a story about where he received it and how it ties into the meditation.

This book begins with a section titled ‘In the Beginning was the Word’ on the word in creation, and the word in the life of the church. How words can hurt or heal. How words or lack there of our silences can bring both life and death.

Next he focuses on the 7 last phrases from Jesus on the cross. ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ Luke 23:34. Then his words spoken to the good thief ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise.’ Luke 23:43. Then the words spoken giving Mary as mother, ‘Women, Behold your son … Behold your mother.’ John 19:26-27. Next is his cry of abandonment ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Mark15:34. Then ‘I thirst.’ John 19:28 and then ‘It is finished’ John 19:30. Finally he cries to God again, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Luke 23:46.

Radcliffe focuses on the order of the cried from the cross, the first, fourth, and seventh are to God, and in between he speaks to us.

The afterword focuses on the silence, the silence of the grave, the silence of the disciples lost before the resurrection. Then a section on our words. He speaks about violence, and the Christian response to violence, specifically in regards to three different situations: 1. The conquest of the Americas; 2. The Holocaust and 3. 11 September 2001 and how as Christians meditating on the cross we should change our views.

If you search the ‘seven last words’ is a search on Amazon.ca produces 59 books with the title or key words ‘Seven Last Words’ and Amazon.com has 629 books. So why would a reader want to pick up this one. But why with all of that would you buy this book. Because it touches deep in the history of our generation, and our response to the evil in the world.

(First Published in Imprint 2007-03-16 as 'Last Word for Lent'.)

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