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    BOOKS – ‘Contemplating The Cross’ (Tricia McCary Rhodes)


    “In the cross is an ocean of love yet unrevealed, a mountain of power still unreleased, and a sea of truth not yet fathomed…There is something utterly exhaustless about the provisions of Calvary.” This quote from S. Franklin Logsdon sums up the book by local author Rhodes which she has subtitled, “A Pilgrimage of Prayer.” In full time ministry work for the past 23 years, the San Diego author has added this work to her previous book, The Soul At Rest, A Journey into Contemplative Prayer.

    There are very few books I can remember that made me want to go back and sit with them in front of a fire and contemplate what I had read. This finely-crafted and honed work is such a book. It pries open parts of your mind that need airing out, and leaves them filled to overflowing with thoughts and mental pictures that, in the author’s words, “…encourage you to identify with Christ personally.”

    As I read the book, I was fascinated by the feeling it gave me that somehow I had come a little closer to understanding what Our Lord and His followers went through in order to fulfill the Scriptures. Early on, I could see Jesus, standing alone in the Garden in the darkness,”His heart beginning to break, His cries growing louder and louder.”

    Follow along with Peter as each hour of the lingering night brings Jesus closer to the cross and feel the pain in the heart of the man who after pledging his support to the death denied his Savior three times after His arrest. And, be prepared for the way that Rhodes puts you into the middle of the courtyard where the flesh on the back of our Redeemer was flayed by the whip.

    “Tiny ribbons of flesh are that remain on Jesus’ back. The officer is just doing his job – one he’s done a thousand times before. But does he have any idea to whom he inflicts such hideous blows? Crack. Silence. Crack. Silence. Crack.” Surrounded by her compelling narrative, I felt like I was in the crowd, guiltily observing His pain.

    The very structure of the book leads the reader down the exact part intended by Rhodes as she personalizes the struggles of Jesus at the end of His life here on earth. Assembled in seven short chapters in only 179 pages, this book is packed with thought provoking prose surrounded by Scripture verses and quotes from some of the great theologians of the ages. There are also pauses in each section of each chapter which draw the reader into reflection and prayer. And while it goes without saying that nearly every Christian remembers from childhood the story of the Crucifixion, I can honestly say that with the exception of “The Day that Christ Died,” I have never been so moved by the story, or seen it as personally as I did by reading this marvelous book, Contemplating the Cross.

    Paul McShane of Carlsbad is an author, businessman and journalist. He normally writes a single book review each month for the newspaper. Local authors are welcome to submit a copy of their new releases for consideration.

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