Brief encounters

and he talks with meReview by Alan Ray

Book | And He Talks with Me | Al Mewett

What an unusual publication. The title gives us a clue. Readers of a certain age, including this reviewer, may recognise the lyrics crooned by Elvis Presley: “And he walks with me and he talks with me/and he tells me I am his own/and the joy we share as we tarry there/none other has ever known.”  

This is an eclectic collection of short stories about well-known figures such as Flynn of the Inland, General Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, Mark Twain and others, which gives an insight into aspects of their faith.   

Do not expect saintly biographies or pious journeys of the soul.  There is no deep theology or exegesis of texts. The vignettes of these historical figures illustrate the personal relationship each has with God and underscores the lyrics of the title, which also includes the lines: “I come to the garden alone/and the voice I hear falling on my ear/ the Son of God discloses.”  

Mewett has an interesting background. After being a Methodist minister for 25 years, including time with the Wesley Mission in Sydney, he became an executive in the commercial world.   

Drawing on his background, I imagine the author used many of these pithy anecdotes at business prayer breakfasts or to enliven his addresses when he worked as an assistant to Wesley Mission superintendent Rev Alan Walker. 

The book finishes with the story of Mark Twain, who received an invitation to meet the Kaiser. Twain’s daughter exclaimed that because he had met almost everyone else, “there won’t be anybody left for you to be acquainted with but God”.     

Mewett sums up his beliefs in the last sentence where he notes: “An invitation to be acquainted with God – that is in the hands of each of us.” 

The assurance, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13: 5) could be the sub-title for this series of reflections.

Available from Morning Star Publishing, RRP $21

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