New Psalms for Old Sorrowsby Michael Gojanovich
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This beautifully illustrated book explores the three basic questions we all ask at some point: who are we; how do we fit into the universe; and who's in charge here. The writers of the Psalms asked the same questions three thousand years ago, and we're still trying to figure it out. This book doesn't claim to answer these existential questions, but sometimes, in order to get closer to an answer, it helps to ask the questions in a different way.
The meditations in this book were written to be read aloud as part of an Anglican Sunday service, although many are not strictly Christian in outlook. They are sequenced by the seasons and religious festivals of the year, and explore a wide variety of topics: love, hate, violence, greed, injustice, spirituality, life, suffering, and death. They are not written in what the author calls church-speak, but in everyday language, and are addressed directly to God, because, after all, that's who we're talking to. The illustrations are inspired by the illuminations of medieval manuscripts, and provide and extra dimension to the meaning of the text.
- Michael Gojanovich
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Reviewed by K T Bowes for Readers' Favorite New Psalms for Old Sorrows, as it promises, is a collection of prayers based squarely on biblical foundations and containing relevant scriptures. It examines, through a series of prayer and personal musing, the relationship between God and human beings and also that of a person’s attitude towards others who might represent his neighbours. The prayers are based on three fundamental questions which are presented at the start, namely, 1. What is our identity? 2. What is our status? 3. Who is in charge here? The writer highlights the fact that there is nothing wrong with such questions, but that the problem has crept into the motivation for the answers. Man has taken something simply truthful and cocooned it in a veil of complication, in order to avoid having to apply any of these truths to himself. Michael Gojanovich has gone to great lengths to lift the veil and reveal a loving and accessible God who actually desires a relationship with unworthy sinners such as ourselves. My favourite quote from this work, although it was particularly hard to choose from the pithy, life-changing statements which are so generously littered around each prayer, is this: ‘And all our lives we are a coin in mid-toss, rotating between good and evil, with no way of knowing which side will finally land face up; whether it will be love or bitterness, that in the end, defines our lives.’ I approached this book with trepidation, not particularly wanting to be preached at but this was something different, something special, written by a believer who clearly wished to share the benefit of his wisdom and experience. There is so much about this work that is spiritually insightful, personal and relevant, and I ended up highlighting little nuggets of rocket science the whole way through. The art work in New Psalms for Old Sorrows, produced by Debbie Thompson Wilson, is phenomenally beautiful and also relevant, providing an artistic backdrop for what is, in effect, the cry of a man’s heart. The honesty of the writing is refreshing, especially in dealing with the issue of death. The prayers are neither laborious nor preachy, but succinct and written in everyday language that is easy to relate to and apply to your own life. The editing is almost flawlessly executed. The fine decorations within the work are stunning and give it a timeless authenticity. I would love to own a print copy of this work so that the art work was not limited by the restrictions of my Kindle. I am certain that it would be the kind of book that is dragged out and read time and time again in different circumstances, bringing a fresh understanding with every reading.