Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Who Does He Say You Are?

Growing up I can remember a desire to read and understand The Bible and making some attempts to do so but not really understanding how to access Sacred Scripture in a deep way. However, that has been shifting in recent years. As my love for Scripture has been developing and I am drawn toward reflecting on identity construction, I was excited to hear about Colleen Mitchell's book Who Does He Say You Are?: Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels.

I started reading this book as part of the WINE: Reading Between the Vines Summer Book Club but could not wait to read bit by bit along with the dates for the club. Instead, I read through to the end with the intent to go back and re-read chapter by chapter as they are discussed as the thinking in the book lends well to multiple readings to prompt further reflection and discussion.

Colleen Mitchell starts the book with a personal prologue framing why Scriptures have been powerful in her life and a source of great healing. She then shares her hopes for her readers and some guidance for how to approach reading the book. It is an invitation to journeying alongside her as we discover, re-discover, or deepen our understanding of our identity through Scriptures. Next, there are twelve chapters focusing on different women from The Bible centered on a different layer to our identity, such as: "You Are a Dwelling Place of the Most High God" Mary, the Mother of Jesus; "You Are Made for Contentment" Martha and Mary of Bethany; and "You Were Made for Resurrection Joy" Mary Magdalene. She concludes with an Afterword.

Each of the chapters follow a pattern of sharing Scripture that illustrates the focal woman and concept for the chapter; a reflection that enters in to what it must have been like to live that moment in history with a connection to how it is relevant to our current context; an invitation to ponder what the Scripture and focus of the chapter means for us personally with regards to our own identity in Christ; a prayer; and questions for reflection.

Through my reading experience, Colleen Mitchell achieved her purpose of the book for readers being "a tool to help you draw nearer to the God who created you, who loves you, and who wants to see you whole, knowing you are in him and purposeful in your pursuit of the life that leads you to him" (p. xx).

When my copy arrived in the mail and I skimmed a little bit, I instantly knew without yet reading for myself that this would be a book I would want to share and ordered three more copies to give to others. I can tell this will be a book that comes to mind as people share about their journeys and will be one I will likely revisit over time and encourage others to read.

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