The eighteenth century song, 'Jesus Christ the Apple Tree' celebrates the beauty and fruitfulness of Jesus. It has inspired Anthea Dove to look at the gospel stories afresh, to seek out what are for her the powerful qualities of the person Christians believe to be the Son of God.
As the author helps us meditate on Jesus in this way, we realize not only how human he was, but how alive he is in humanity. There is a sense in which he is the leper, is the woman suffering from a haemorrhage, is the frightened deportee forced to return to a land where he will be tortured and killed, is the young woman dying of cancer. He is not a separate superior being looking on with compassion while we suffer, but at the very heart of our pain.
The many stories and illustrations that make "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree" such an engaging read, often pack a disconcertingly powerful punch. As a result, those looking for a book offering real spiritual sustenance will not be disappointed.
Anthea Dove lives with her husband near the sea in North Yorkshire. A former teacher, she has written many Christian books, leads retreats and quiet days, and has a strong commitment to working for social justice and ecumenism.