Light in the darkness - An Exploration of the Christian Hope for Today
To be published by Sacristy Press late June / early July 2020: price £14.99
To be human is to hope, and what we hope for shapes our lives and the path we follow. Taking to heart the petition in the Lord’s Prayer that the Kingdom shall ‘come on earth as it is in heaven,’ Light in the Darkness explores the path of Christian hope asking what it means for human society, and for each person, if we really want heaven on earth. The Christian hope is often thought of simply as a hope for the life to come, but if we are true to Jesus’ prayer, then our hope cannot be limited in this way, and must be also for the life here and now; as the Christian Aid slogan put it: We believe in life before death. Inspired by the Advent Antiphons, seven praises and prayers that have been used by Christians for more than a thousand years, and by the I am sayings of Jesus, I explore seven hopes: for truth, justice, freedom, a new beginning, enlightenment, peace and love. These hopes are universal – the hopes of people in every age and of all faiths.
Light in the Darkness offers a considered Christian response to the ideas that shape the modern world, a path of hope which integrates the different aspects of life: personal and political, ethical and economic, spiritual and social. Contrary to those who dismiss Christian faith, I believe it offers a distinctively deeper understanding of life than secular approaches, challenging the basic economic and individualistic nostrums that many assume to be the only way. There is an alternative, another path, where truth is discovered through a personal relationship and not simply in a series of empirical propositions; where justice is about ensuring fair outcomes and not just fair procedures; where freedom is seen as given for personal and social fulfilment, not just from constraint; where a true new beginning is one that enables us to take our past into our future healed, rather than hidden or denied; where enlightenment is to live by the light of Christ rather than by the secular values of today’s world; where peace is founded on reconciliation – moving into a new reality marked by the presence of justice not simply the absence of conflict; where love is more than affection or sexual attraction, leading us on the path of self-giving, being with another come what may, as God is with us.
Light in the Darkness is written for thoughtful Christians and Christian leaders who want to deepen their spiritual resources. It is written also for ‘the serious middle ground’, those who, while not describing themselves as Christians, acknowledge that something is wrong with the contemporary world and that faith has an important bearing on this. The style is serious and engaging, but does not assume too much in the way of Biblical or theological knowledge. I raise challenging issues, particularly about the way economic ideas, our individualistic culture, and the legacy of the Englightment shape hope in the modern world, and offer a considered Christian response bringing together different aspects of life, personal and political, ethical and economic, spiritual and social.
I am pleased to say that the book is warmly commended by those who have read the drafts, as can be seen from the comments below. To reserve a copy, please contact me via the Contact page.
An excellent study; insightful, scholarly, sensible and written in a style that is a joy to read. Erudite and full of wisdom, the connections it makes between scripture and today’s world offer much for careful reflection. – Bishop Laurie Green
A real achievement. Written with a relaxed ease, it is a delight to read. I warmed to the way that the themes are teased out with an impressive range of theological, economic, biblical and literary reference. This is a book for Christians to get their teeth into without feeling hampered by a lack of theological or biblical education. – Dr Bridget Nichols
This thoughtful and challenging book is a treasure trove. Hope is central to the Christian faith and these meditations on it contain much to nourish that hope. It deserves to be widely read. – Dr John Inge, Bishop of Worcester
These thoughtful and prayerful reflections offer an admirable way of reflecting on the place of faith and hope in today’s world. – Professor Canon Robin Gill
The Life Hidden with Christ in God - Meditations for Lent 1995
You died, and now your life lies hidden with Christ in God. St Paul’s words to the Colossians provide the theme for these meditations following the journey of St Paul through Greece from Kavalla to Corinth, and reflecting on his understanding of what it means to be baptised. This concise Lent course offers two meditations for each week of Lent, drawing their inspiration from one the places on St Paul’s route, together with points for reflection. (The print copy is illustrated with pictures of the places on St Paul’s route; the pdf is unillustrated because of file size.)
[Print copy available direct from Peter Sills, or download the pdf. Read now.]
The Time Has Come
Published by Columba Press 2006
Covering the whole of St Mark’s gospel, this book offers a reflection for each day of Lent (though it can also be tackled in longer sections), each ending with a short spiritual exercise. It can be used both individually and by groups.
[Print version only; available from Peter Sills: order via the contact page.]
The reflections offer more substance than most of what passes for Bible devotions. Canon Sills ends by suggesting you ask yourself: ‘How much do I want to hear Jesus’ good news. Like a good preacher, he takes the reader imaginatively into the Gospel, and draws parallels with readers’ inner lives. (Ruth Boulding, Church Times.)
Theonomics - Reconnecting Economics with Virtue and Integrity
Published by Sacristy Press 2014
‘Where are we going? For several years now it has been apparent, if officially unacknowledged, that generally accepted economic ideas are not working.’ Not only is economic theory divorced from real life, many areas of economic life have cut themselves adrift from accepted standards of ethical behaviour. This collection of eleven essays by different contributors, jointly edited with Andrew Lightbown, considers various aspects of economic life, from education to employment, illustrating in each case the resources that the Christian faith offers for reconnecting economic life with virtue and integrity. Peter Sills contributes the Foreword, two essays: A Christian Framework for Economics and Leadership, Ethics and Virtue, and the Afterword.
[Available from the publisher: print and e-book versions.]
Theonomics argues for the recovery of the classic virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude, justice and humility as animators of a lively and Godly economy. Six key principles are offered to help those interested in integrating Christian ideas into the economic sphere: community, solidarity, justice, gift, service and subsidiarity. Theonomics offers encouragement and empirical evidence for the integration of Christian insights and everyday economic activity. (From the Preface by Martyn Percy.)
MEDITATIONS & ADDRESSES
An occasional series
My Strength & My Song - (1991)
‘We are an Easter people, and “Alleluia!” is our song. Its easy at joyful times like Easter, and when things are going well, to have a lively faith and confidence in God. But its not so easy in the hard times when faith is tested; it is then that we truly need a faith built on rock. In these meditations, written in the early years of his ministry, Peter Sills reflects on keeping faith in good times and in tough times, in joy and in sorrow, and how we can discern the hand of God in our lives and in the world. The topics include the resurrection and the faith of Easter, Marriage and Divorce, Politics and the Church, the Calling of a Priest, the place of conflict, doubt and darkness in the Christian life, and the life to come.
[Print copy available direct from Peter Sills, or download pdf: Read now]
A Word in Season (2001)
From Advent to Trinity Sunday, ten addresses offer a journey through the Christian year. They were given between 1992 and 2001, ten years that saw the advent of the Third Millennium. The Church saw the dawn of the new age in Biblical terms as a time of Jubilee, in which wrongs are to be righted and people offered a new start – themes reflected in the addresses. The topics are: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Candlemas, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost and Trinity. The collection concludes with two non-seasonal pieces: a reflection on the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, and an address given at a service to mark the dawning of the Year 2000.
[Print copy no longer available; download pdf. Read now]
Your Kingdom Come - (2006)
‘Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven’, Jesus taught us to pray. How do we understand the kingdom of God? And what are its values? Written from the conviction that God is the God of the whole of life, public as well as private, this booklet considers these questions and relates them to contemporary issues: re-connecting politics with hope; learning from terror, and the rise of militant Islam; climate change and caring for the earth. These issues pose sharp questions about the spirit of the age, and it is at the spiritual level that they must be resolved.
The four sections are – 1. Renewing the Spirit: Praying for the Kingdom, A Moral Society & The Pursuit of Happiness; 2. Learning From Terror: Prophecy and Political Action, A Just War? Islam and the State; 3. Caring for the Earth; and 4. Remembering: Sixty Years On, A Baltic Journey.
[Print copy no longer available; download pdf. Read now.]
Deep Calls to Deep - (2015)
The defining events of the opening decade of the twenty-first century were the attack of the World Trade Center in 2001 and the banking crisis of 2008. These, and much else in between, raised serious political and ethical issues, but underlying them are much deeper religious and spiritual questions. Deep Calls to Deep is a call to look again at the resources that the Christian faith offers in dealing with these underlying issues. There are three sections: 1. The God who does not change – getting our picture of God right. 2. A New Spirit – discerning the spiritual needs of these deeply troubled times, including questions of faith and identity, and the spiritual factors behind the economic crisis. 3. Becoming Rooted – finding in our own depths the values that are changeless through prayer and biblical insights.
[Print copy available direct from Peter Sills, or download pdf. Read now.]
BOOKS AND BOOKLETS – The complete list
- Let Him Who is Thirsty Come (1989)
- The Closeness of God’s Coming (1989)
- The Life Hidden with Christ in God (1991, revised 1995, 2016)
- My Strength and My Song (19910
- A Word in Season (2001)
- Jesus is Lord (2003)
Ely Cathedral – A Short Tour (2005: Scala)
- The Time Has Come – A Lenten Journey with St Mark (2006: Columba)
- Your Kingdom Come (2006)
- According to John (2007)
- Ely Cathedral (2008: Scala)
- Exodus (2009, revised 2019)
- All My Hope (2009)
- Don’t Weep for Me (2010, revised 2020 as Do Not Weep for Me)
- Theonomics – Reconnecting Economics with Virtue and Integrity (2014: Sacristy; co-ed: Andrew LIghtbown)
- Deep Calls to Deep (2015)
- Médard’s Journey (2019)
NB: Most of these can be downloaded from this website. Print copies of all save the Scala books can be obtained from me via the contacts page.
The Scala books can be obtained from Ely Cathedral.
Print and e-copies of Theonomics are also available from Sacristy Press.