Yesterday's post was partly a precursor for today's review. I wanted you to know how deeply Tim Keller has affected me personally, before I talked about his book, King's Cross, The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus.
King's Cross is written on a subject that has been written of by thousands of people: The life of Jesus of Nazareth. As Keller puts it, "Into this seemingly inexhaustible current of words and thoughts, I gingerly lay this volume."
In other words, so much has already been said! Is another book really necessary?
King's Cross is a study of the book of Mark, taking the two symmetrical acts of Mark's account of Jesus's life to explore the narrative of The King, (the identity of Jesus) and The Cross (the purpose of Jesus).
I loved this book because it read like a meditation. Books of facts don't really do it for me, but this was far from a book of facts. I consumed this book slice by slice, mulling over it a chapter at a time. Each part of it wove around me in circles, taking glimpses of Jesus and brushing away with color until I could see all the shape and depth in them. It reached me in the same way meditation does.
I also loved it because it is life affirming. I felt wrapped up by the book. I felt that sweetness again, the good guidance of wisdom.
It was timely. Lately I've been feeling like I should have reached some goal by now, that everything in my life should be certain. It troubles me. But I was blown away by a passage in the chapter "The Call," about the point in Jesus's life when he calls his disciples. Keller compares the call that Jesus gives to a part of George McDonald's book The Princess and the Goblin. Irene, the young protagonist, is given a ball of thread by her grandmother, and is told that when they are apart, she is to follow it wherever it leads her, no matter how roundabout it seems, and it will lead her to her grandmother. And the thread doesn't work backwards, Irene has to keep trusting, has to keep following.
This has become something I whisper to myself. "Follow the thread." Feeling a little lost, lately, I'm following the thread to the next guesthouse, to the next train. And because I'm choosing to follow the thread rather than go backwards, I'm seeing how gently my little family is being led along, how we find the right place for the right time, how people who need us, or people we need, stumble into our paths. We are cared for so tenderly. But we don't know where we are going. And neither did the disciples.
I recommend King's Cross to anyone who is seeking to find his thread, or who has been following the thread for a long time. I recommend it to anyone who has decided to plop herself down in the path. Read it as a meditation.
The reason I will find strength to be content in following no matter where I am led, is because I am following a person. I don't know where He is taking me, but I do know Him, and I do know what He is like. And like I was saying yesterday, I know that He promises that one day everything will be made right.
In Dr. Keller's words again, "I trust that you will find the figure of Jesus worthy of your attention: unpredictable yet reliable, gentle yet powerful, authoritative yet humble, human yet divine."