Bible Stories Through the Year. Lectionary readings for year A, retold for maximum effect. Bob Hartman Lion Hudson, £12.99. Rating: One of the best resources I've ever engaged with
Please do not let the title put you off, and I say that because it almost put me off. I thought this book would be just be a retelling of familiar Bible stories such as Noah’s ark and Daniel in the lion’s den, and the word ‘lectionary’ didn’t allay my fears. But this is a quality resource packed with some excellent re-working of scripture – yes, biblical narratives (which are great, obviously), but also Psalms, and some passages from the letters to the early Church. This is a book for the whole of church life, not just to be dragged out for a family service (though it would be great for those). It would help to bring any service to life as the Bible is opened up and the text is engaged with in a lively and creative way.
There are some great surprises too – a devastating punch in the guts for church hoppers with the commentary on the verses from 1 Peter 2 and a clever reworking of Paul bringing the gospel to Athens with his take on Acts 17.
You don’t need to be in a church that uses the lectionary to get stuck in – you could grab something from the sections on Advent, Lent, Easter or Christmas as it suits you. Another positive is the inclusion at the back of a scripture index – which also makes this a resource to dive into when planning a holiday club or midweek kids’ Bible study.
In Bob Hartman’s introduction, he talks about how sweet God’s word is and that we should get in and taste it like a good meal. I’d call this an all-you-can-eat Bible buffet – I just kept going back for more. It’s a great resource. Go get it.