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Off The PageReview by Penny Mulvey

Book | Off the Page | Clare Boyd-Macrae

Clare Boyd-Macrae has a gift – to turn the mundane and the routine into something of beauty, of grace, of God.

Her latest book, Off the Page, faith reflections, is a collection of her writing published in The Age Faith column and The Melbourne Anglican.

Nothing is off limits for Boyd-Macrae and this is the gift she gives her readers. We are invited into her reflection to consider our own struggle with bad news or an encounter with an old friend or our relationship with ourselves.

Boyd-Macrae reveals much about herself through her writing. She has spent a lifetime struggling with self-worth. How can God possibly love her? The reader learns that she is a serious introvert who goes to church to worship God not to engage with people. We learn about her family; the news of her husband’s cancer diagnosis; her love of walking; her early years in India, the daughter and granddaughter of missionaries.

These stories are used as a signpost. They point to her relationship with God and invite others to consider the magnificence of this God to whom she has poured out her anger, sorrow, joy and love for a lifetime.

My review copy of Off the Page is filled with bits of paper, marked as possible examples of Boyd-Macrae’s lyrical writing, each story drawing me in, making me smile, leading me to prayer. A story about Sheila’s hanky reminds Boyd-Macrae of Jesus’ parable of the woman who lost her gold coin. It reminded her of God’s unstinting love for all people, not just church people.

Her love of nature – of rivers, oceans, the outback and quiet places – challenges Boyd-Macrae to think about Jesus’ words to not be anxious.

She gently challenges herself (and the reader) to feast on the lilies in the field, God’s abundance.

“Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” I like to think that Jesus is not just talking about anxiety here. Maybe he is pointing out that anyone who can see lilies or watch the carefree swooping birds through the evening sky, is exposed to as much beauty and wonder as a king with all his treasure and feasting and slaves and concubines. And that our tendency to worry is lessened every time we really see the abundance all around us displayed for free.”

In a world that can sometimes seem overwhelming and dark, is that not a gift of the writer? To remind us anew of the beauty around us which can gladden the heart and lift the spirit?

Available from www.ctmresourcing.org.au RRP: $19.95

www.mediacom.org.au

RRP: $19.95

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