Book Review: The Beauty of the Cross

Disclaimer – I was provided with a free review copy of this book, and thus didn’t have to like it. If I did, then 

The Beauty of the Cross Tim Chester

As someone who has rubbished Lent in the past, and then worked for an Anglican rooted publisher (which publishes a number of Lent books each year, and sees it as a significant communications opportunity) I’ve gradually come to appreciate the role of these key notes in the symphony of the traditional church calendar. Thus, I’m glad to see that one of my favourite author/teachers, Tim Chester, has written a Lent book.

The introduction to this book sets the scene: “We often speak or sing about the cross. Of corse we do; it’s central to our faith. This section of Isaiah is an invitation to pause; to take it slow; to go down deep…

This, dear reader, is an evangelical Lent book.

And it is beautiful.

If you haven’t ‘done’ a Lent book before, then The Beauty of the Cross is a brilliant introduction, slotting neatly into a daily quiet time Rhythm – or aiding you in the decision to start one. This book isn’t written in such a way that it can’t be caught up on – Tim’s writing is, as ever, eminently readable, gloriously Christo-centric, and saturated with biblical and cultural references – and so would be a good thing to pick up and read at any point before Easter. Read all at once, this book was an overwhelming Gospel feast. Read daily, as intended, over a week (I cheated, reading a chapter I liked in a week long before Lent actually starts) it is a helpful and Spirit-filled/inviting aid to relating well to God and His Word.

Reviewing a book that is intended to be read over a season – particularly a 40-day season like Lent – is a difficult task. And so I have not done this book justice. I would recommend it to two different groups of readers. Firstly, if you are someone [like me] who does or intends to do a daily quiet time, then this is a great way to prepare for Easter and reflect deeply and theologically about the Cross. Secondly, if you ‘do’ Lent, then this is a great book, nicely produced and with some interesting accompanying resources (other publishers take note!) that focuses on the Cross and the Bible, offering daily reflections for the whole season of Lent.

Tim Chester is a prolific author/teacher, and I’ve reviewed a couple of his other books.

  • Who on Earth is the Holy Spirit? A brilliant little primer on the oft-misunderstood/neglected person of the Trinity.
  • Enjoying God. A helpful and readable little book about enjoying and experiencing our relationship with God.
  • Will you be my Facebook Friend? A frankly quite disappointing small book about social media. My review links to some other, more helpful (in my opinion) resources.

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