Author: Sue Monk Kidd
There were so many marvelous layers to this book!
First, it is a fascinating and well-researched story based on the premise that for ten years before his ministry, Jesus had a wife named Ana and she was both a writer and a feminist of her time. Viewing the life of Jesus and the drama of his death from a wife’s perspective was mind-bending, and the author got so many historical details right that it seemed entirely plausible.
Another layer seemed to be a feminist manifesto by the author, shining a spotlight on the cruel and severely limited role of women at the time in Palestine and the awful consequences for any who tried to step outside those limits. For the most part, they were mistreated, devalued, and dismissed, with very little control over their own destiny.
And perhaps above all, this book is a call to the reader to pay attention to your longings and to respect and nourish them. They are so much more than wishes or dreams. Our longings contain “intimations of divinity.”
“Write what’s inside here,” Ana’s aunt said, pointing to her heart, “inside your holy of holies…Return to your longing. It will teach you everything.”
The prayer Ana writes in her incantation bowl is a powerful one for each of us, especially those of us who aspire to use our words to make a difference in the world:
Lord our God, hear my prayer, the prayer of my heart. Bless the largeness inside me, no matter how I fear it. Bless my reed pens and my inks. Bless the words I write. May they be beautiful in your sight. May they be visible to eyes not yet born. When I am dust, sing these words over my bones: She was a voice.”
I can’t stop thinking about this book, its unique glimpse of Jesus’s life, and the strong women characters who learned how to nourish their souls in a highly repressive and often cruel culture. My reading experience was enriched by listening to Brené Brown’s interview with the author, Sue Monk Kidd, HERE on Brené’s podcast “Unlocking Us.”
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