Seven Days To Freedom – Review

Seven Days To Freedom: Joining up connections in creation, by John Dudley Davies, March 2021. Darton, Longman and Todd, ISBN: 978-0232534856, 160 pages. RRP: £14.99

Bishop John Dudley Davies has led an amazing life. Priested and serving in South Africa, he helped to draft a document that challenged Christians to examine the policy of apartheid, which led to the South African government terminating his ministry. Returning to Britain he served in many roles before being consecrated Bishop of Shrewsbury in 1987, and in his retirement he and his wife led a Welsh parish where he had once been vicar.   This is just one of his, at least eleven, books.

He has used every part of his many years of experience and knowledge in the writing of this book. Taking us on a journey through Creation, he focuses on the fact that everything is connected, the Bible being all about connections. He likens these to the hydraulics of an aircraft (he was once an RAF engineer) or the wiring of a house. Davies’s work shows how our connections to our faith should both inform and inspire all our actions, observing that often our spiritual life is lived as one thing, but our actions are lived as another.   While he does this he links the Biblical past both with our own past, and with the future.

He writes of how God’s Creation is all about liberation as it leads to the Sabbath, allowing humanity to control time, as the Sabbath has no “evening and morning”, and “is the now”. This liberation, for Davies, is about becoming a community that fairly shares the earth’s resources.   He demonstrates that the Sabbath is relevant here and now to the issues of climate change, property rights, education and slavery, and he does so, as one would expect, with many practical examples.

We are continually reminded that we belong to each other, and despite the circumstances of our daily lives, we can find blessings in what is essentially our time of exile. Just as the Hebrews did, as Christians we must strive for the liberation and recognition of those that our society pushes to the margins. 

Perhaps the book can be summed up in his observation that “The peace of Sabbath is freedom but not freedom to exploit. It is not freedom at the expense of someone else’s restriction. It is not a freedom in which we are defined by our status as a consumer. It is not a freedom to choose between different ways of dominating. It is not even a freedom of having made the most satisfying choice. It is the freedom of having been chosen, the freedom of being loved. It is a gift.”

The book ends with ten questions for individual thought or for groups to engage with. These range across topics including coronavirus, harvest thanksgiving, property ownership, and the effectiveness of the Church as a place of learning. However, Davies leaves the final words to his friend, Bishop Desmond Tutu, affirming the strength of goodness, love, light and life. 

Peter Doodes



Author: Ed Beale | Date: 7 September, 2021 | Category: Book Reviews | Comments: 0

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