Cause for wonder – review of two books by David Adam

wonder of the beyond FCRecently I became submerged in the writings of David Adam. A Church of England clergyman, he was for many years vicar on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Inspired by the Celtic people of Britain and Ireland, he writes poems, prayers, and reflections on the triune God who is with us.

One of the things that struck me most about his writing is his emphasis on wonder. As we open our eyes to creation and those around us, we live in the moment and learn to experience God’s presence. For as he says in The Wonder of the Beyond, “God is here, God is with us, and above all, God is.” And yet, so often we find ourselves preoccupied, caught up in this or that as we flit from one thing to another – to our detriment. The result, as he says in The Path of Life, affects the whole of our lives: “A short attention span makes for shallow relationships, for poor perception and reception. This is as true with God as it is with each other.”

Path of LightThe two books I’ve chosen are a good place to start with his writings. In The Wonder of the Beyond he tells stories from his life, from working in a coal mine at the age of fifteen, to his decision to become a vicar, to his whirlwind romance with this wife (they met and married within a week). But he recounts his stories for the purpose of waking up the reader to “a wonder-full world” – to the world that hosts the glory of God in our midst. He challenges us to really see the people and objects of creation in front of us – to give them our undivided attention. Then through creation and others we will see God.

The Path of Life is a series of meditations on prayers from the Celtic tradition, and is thus helpful in personal and corporate prayer. Recently I used his meditations on Rune Before Prayer (rune meaning poem) during a retreat as a focusing prayer. I love how he meditates on each member of the Trinity and their unique attributes, bringing them alive to us.

In closing, a quotation from The Path of Life to ponder: “If you are insensitive to the things that are around you, how can you hope to be sensitive to the unseen God?”

The Wonder of the Beyond (SPCK, ISBN 978-0281063307)
The Path of Life (SPCK, ISBN 978-0281060702)


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