A book review by author Francis Etheredge
“Blue Sky” by Ed and Janice Hird is an unexpectedly good read. On beginning the book, it very quickly brings in the practice of prayer and, I have to say, almost produced a groan. However, the story itself rapidly captivated me to the point where, completing it in a day, it is a read that I am happy to recommend to all: the person who prays frequently or the person who has never prayed – but perhaps especially to parents and their children!
Instead, then, of the story unfolding in predictable ways, it twists and turns and, as it were, drills deep into the question of suffering, particularly the suffering of those who serve the suffering servant, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; but not as if their suffering is in isolation to that of others and, therefore, this story place a pastor and his wife and family in the midst of many lives. As regards the habit of prayer, I realized very quickly that the pattern of almost praying constantly in front of all the daily and extraordinary difficulties of life is, actually, very true to life; and, I am glad to say, the authors brought me to tears at times, making me think that this book is based on more than an imaginative scenario but has some real experience of life behind it. Indeed, there are enough “stories” still to be told to encourage the authors to write a sequel!
For those of us who are Catholic, which the book mentions importantly, but peripherally, or those who are more obviously of an evangelical background, there is a real sense of the married couple at the heart of the book really being discovered more and more deeply in the mystery of God’s reconciling love in their marriage; and, therefore, I recommend this book to all who need, like me, encouragement to persevere in prayer through all the ordinary and extraordinary difficulties of life. In the widest and best sense, then, this book draws on the development of a relationship to Jesus Christ and His Church which, without being in any way stereotypical, shows the ever rippling benefit of a love that expresses the unique love of the enemy. Read it!
Francis Etheredge of Gloucester, England, is married with 11 children, 3 of whom are in heaven; he is the author of numerous book including The Prayerful Kiss, The Family on Pilgrimage: God Leads Through Dead Ends and the forthcoming, also from En Route Books and Media, Mary and Bioethics: An Exploration.
He has earned a BA Div (Hons), MA in Catholic Theology, PGC in Biblical Studies, PGC in Higher Education, and an MA in Marriage and Family (Distinction). He is a co-founder of the Donum Vitae Institute.