Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Messenger, by Siri Mitchell

@SiriMitchell has outdone herself with this amazing story of faith, loyalty, and love. If you're looking for a read outside the status quo, this is it. When I first read Kissing Adrien I discovered beyond a shadow of any doubt Siri is gifted to be a mastercraftsman (or woman), and I can never thank her enough for using the gift that is in her! Mon chéri, vous avez réussi à nouveau.

You can read the back cover blurb here.

Steeped in history the story's twists and turns are unexpected, and the relationship between the two key characters unfolds beautifully. Every book worth reading has a message and the message in this one is profoundly necessary. Jeremiah and Hannah are not what you'd expect and reading their journey quickly become as enjoyable as they are true to life. If you want a novel beyond the confines of your usual read, pick this one.

Siri doesn't hesitate to drop her characters in deep do-do, managing escapes of the most amazing and often lovliest ways. Her expert handling of lost english is just one of the many methods of transport back to the 1770's (it's almost a crime for this book to have been given away on!).

This book reminds me why I love Siri's writing so much. Her books are thought provoking reads, causing me to question what on earth we're doing and believing for eternity's sake, and most always manage to strike that chord within me about what I belive and why I believe it, and above all--am I doing what I believe?

I never bookmark pages in novels like I do with non-fiction books, but in The Messenger I placed two tiny post-its because of the absolute gold I found. One was on p178 where Jeremiah tells Hannah that 'You can't base your faith on a position, that life cannot be lived as a protest' (interestingly this point is again raised in the discussion questions at the end of the book). For me, this book provoked a Q&A session on the things I see around me where more and more these days people would rather fence-sit than act (and sometimes even use their faith to justify it).

My other post-it tab was stuck to a later page where Jeremiah wonders what the "good guys" are waiting for. 'Were they so afraid they might do the wrong thing that they failed to do anything at all?'

The same inertia can also capture me quite badly and begs the question, Isn't it better to step out and find out than not to and have nothing happen?

Another critical part was where Hannah can hear the voice of God yet chooses to remain silent, fully aware her Friends would just as soon oust her as hear the truth they simply don't want to do anything about. Oh my Lord, the times haven't changed at all.

Within this story healing for wounded souls is found in the unpredictable, and the courage to act is best practised in being bold. There's an old saying that bad things happen when good men do nothing. Really, if good men do nothing, then they are not good men at all...

"You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." James 2v20-26

Tu ne réfléchis donc pas! Veux-tu avoir la preuve que la foi sans les actes ne sert à rien? Abraham, notre ancêtre, n'a-t-il pas été déclaré juste à cause de ses actes, lorsqu'il a offert son fils Isaac sur l'autel? Tu le vois, sa foi et ses actes agissaient ensemble et, grâce à ses actes, sa foi a atteint son plein épanouissement. Ainsi s'accomplit ce que l'Ecriture déclare à son sujet: Abraham a eu confiance en Dieu, et Dieu, en portant sa foi à son crédit, l'a déclaré juste, et il l'a appelé son ami. Vous le voyez donc: on est déclaré juste devant Dieu à cause de ses actes, et pas uniquement à cause de sa foi. Rahab, la prostituée, n'a-t-elle pas aussi été déclarée juste par Dieu à cause de ses actes, lorsqu'elle a donné asile aux envoyés israélites et les a aidés à s'échapper par un autre chemin? Car comme le corps sans l'esprit est mort, la foi sans les actes est morte.

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