The Woman, the Hour, and the Garden, by Addison Hodges Hart
In this brief poetic reading of John’s Gospel, retired pastor Addison Hodges Hart revives the ancient imagery of the church as Christ’s spouse. Hart focuses on the story of the woman struggling in childbirth in John 16:21, but he also draws upon Genesis, the synoptic Gospels, the Johannine and Pauline epistles, and Revelation. Hart’s vision is at once allegorical, moral, and eschatological. Christ, married to the church, draws us always into deeper life with God. “It is a moral life and a mystical life, born of divine love itself.” The book’s six chapters are ideal for group study in a church, particularly if participants are encouraged to delve into the questions Hart leaves unasked about gender, sexuality, and power.