Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fresh Bread and Other Gifts of Spiritual Nourishment

The whole grain taste of Fresh Bread is certainly one that can provide ample food for thought and considerable spiritual nourishment throughout the year.  Fresh Bread and Other Gifts of Spiritual Nourishment by Joyce Rupp, OSM is beautifully written, engaging, intimate, vulnerable, and honest.  From a place of humility and brokenness, the beauty of God’s love shines through her poetry, prose, prayers, and provocative questions with a quiet, gentle intensity that seeps into the soul.    
Since this book was recommended and loaned to me by my spiritual director, who likes to keep a copy on-hand for reference, I planned to skim the chapters that looked like they might speak to me most right now, then give it back.  At first, I did as planned, but God knew how much I needed to soak up the lovely imagery, faith-filled wisdom, and tender vulnerability of Fresh Bread in its entirety.  Crumbs, bits, and pieces here and there wouldn’t have been sufficient.  
The book is set-up to be used as a spiritual guide throughout the calendar year.  There is a themed chapter for each month.  Original poems, Scripture reflections, and memoir-like entries are included along with a passage of Scripture to read and meditate on for each day of that month, that goes along with the theme.  The reflections are often followed by another poem, a thoughtful, tender prayer, and four questions for journal keeping—one for each week.
Joyce Rupp, OSM is one of the authors who I feel understands on a deep level the struggles and challenges of following Christ, knowing there’s always room and need for us to grow.  I admire her greatly as a writer who is willing to let her weaknesses, suffering, and questioning be accessible to others, especially when there’s a chance it might lead them closer to the Lord.     
There are a select number of writers who I really love to read, learn from, and with whom I can genuinely identify on the deepest level.  Joyce Rupp is one of these writers, mentors, and people I hope to emulate through the written word and a willingness to let God speak through my life when and how He wishes. 

I highly recommend Fresh Bread for anyone interested in a closer walk with the Lord.  These reflections, poems, meditations, Scripture passages, and questions will present challenges and blessings beyond anything you can imagine.  Do yourself a favor, and have some Fresh Bread.  For more information about or to purchase your own Fresh Bread and Other Gifts of Spiritual Nourishment by Joyce Rupp, OSM, click here.
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