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Book Review

John V. Taylor

The Easter God

And his Easter People

ISBN 0-8264-6630-3

Continuum, London, 2003, 9.99

(price at publication of review)

Reviewed May 2004;
© Copyright, The Society of Saint Francis, 2004

Here is a collection of 32 previously unpublished sermons preached by John V Taylor in his latter years as Bishop of Winchester and following his retirement.  As I read through them the distinct voice of this true Father in God rang out, urgent, clear, with a message that never fails to point you to God and to offer new life.  A collection of sermons may not give the most promising basis for a book these days.  However, Margaret Lydamore, who compiled this selection, has managed to provide a sequence which roughly takes the reader through the liturgical year.  Those on the Resurrection and the Holy Spirit are particularly inspiring as Bishop Taylor draws the light out of many a dark hole and speaks fluently and naturally about the nature and being of God, always making that relationship accessible to the hearer/reader.  'When you are trying to help others in perplexity or trouble, especially the young or the parents of the young, remember that you are on the side of life, and that God is more concerned that his children should be fully alive than that they should be religious' (p.125).  One Ash Wednesday he preached, 'We are not called to be little Christs but to be the one Body of Christ ... for not one of us lives or dies as a lone performer' (p.104).  That inclusive premise, which marks all of Taylor's generous understanding of the Easter God, permeates each address, yet there is constant variety and freshness throughout.  And all is set in that superb quality of attractive prose that makes every page a joy to read - and a challenge.  A book to be savoured and a book I think I shall return to often, even to catch an idea for my own next address!

Damian SSF


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