A liturgical calendar features written passages, paintings, and audio recordings.
Marler’s nonfiction debut is a seasonal account of her personal faith journey in the form of a more or less traditional liturgical calendar, commencing at Advent and moving through the Christmas season, the Feast of the Epiphany, Lent, and so on. Each of the book’s sections is generously and beautifully laid out, with an opening poem, the pertinent passages from Scripture, short reflections by guest writer Roger Housden, and longer devotional passages by Marler herself. In the Easter segment, for instance, she writes: “The ecstatic ringing of bells and ‘Alleluias’ sung by the faithful during this most joyful time of the year, bears witness to the world that through Christ’s Resurrection from the grave, there is eternal salvation and hope for those that believe in Him.” The work is extensively illustrated with paintings by Bonnell (Shadow Lessons, 2012, etc.) that are uniformly stunning—vivid combinations of thematic items and brilliant colors that drive the narrative in unexpectedly strong ways. The chapters end with ample space for readers to record their own thoughts about the seasons, and this is of a piece with the tone of the rest of the book, which is warm and inviting throughout. Marler’s elaborations of the facts and the basic importance of each of Christianity’s key seasons are simple without being scanty, and Housden’s commentaries on her poems mesh very smoothly with those explanations, almost always turning the emphasis outward to readers. The work consistently invites readers to link its teachings to their own faith journeys, to interact with the calendar being presented. Marler’s approach is resolutely nonscholarly; readers seeking deeper textual or historical context for great holidays like Christmas or Easter will need to look elsewhere. This is a straightforward guide for the faithful, stressing participation over investigation and celebration over study. This will make the book fairly opaque to outsiders, but the volume’s core audience, practicing Christians, should treasure it.
A visually striking and spiritually appealing adaptation of the traditional liturgical calendar.