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About the author:
Mark Laurent is a professional musician, poet, writer and Christian communicator. He's recorded many albums over more than 30 years and been a recording producer. Since the early 1980s he has used music and poetry for outreach and in worship, in New Zealand and overseas.
Mark has previously published 3 collections of poetry and an illustrated children's storybook. He writes magazine articles and reviews. Now and then he can be seen busking on Queen Street,
"It's good to keep in touch with life where it happens - with people where they are."
He lives with wife and fellow musician Brenda Liddiard in a 20th floor, high-rise apartment in central Auckland.
Prayers for people like us
Two Jewish men inspired this book. 3,000 years ago king David wrote a collection of songs to express his love, hopes and fears to God. They've been collected as the Psalms of the Old Testament. Thirty years ago Leonard Cohen published a collection of 'secular prayers,' originally called The Book Of Psalms but finally published as Book Of Mercy. Reading about Leonard's process with Mercy sparked Mark's desire to do some writing.
This book is a response to those two great writers and especially to God, to whom they both sing.
Redemption Songs isn't a paraphrase, though from time to time that occurs. Mark started by writing responses to The Psalms, but soon found himself wandering to all sorts of places, the Psalms being good jump-off points. Mostly he didn't write them as 'songs' to be sung, though a few things that started their life as song lyrics have snuck in.
The 71 songs are numbered instead of having titles, in the hope that this leaves a degree of open-ended-ness, so that God can say to you what you need to hear. Dip into them at random. May there be a few holy surprises here for you.
"Oh yes," says Mark, "there's another Jewish guy I should mention; Jesus, who I've loved and been agitated by ever since I discovered him (or he me). He didn't write any songs or books, but the number of songs and books he's inspired shows no sign of coming to an end."
Praise for Redemption Songs:
"Mark Laurent's 'psalms' are a conversation between head and heart, full of wisdom and truth. We read the wisdom, recognise truth, and hunger for more. They are lovely and I think many people will identify with them." Joy Cowley, author, retreat leader
"Redemption Songs will be a breath of fresh air, comfort and encouragement to those like me who find that the Jesus walk is a mixture of highs and lows. Mark has shown us a heart which longs for the heart of God, and the heart of God which longs for us." Anna Johnstone (author of The Jesus Walk)
"I highly recommend this book. It will be invaluable for personal use, as a gift to a friend, or using it in retreat work, as I will be doing. I can imagine it being useful in any place where God is worshipped." Betty Drew-Diprose, Saint Francis Retreat Centre
"Thanks for sending through the sample of your Redemption Songs. It's engaging and honest writing. I like the whole concept of composing contemporary Psalms, with high authenticity." Mike Riddell, author
"This 80 page book is poetry in motion. Freewheeling, anguished and inspirational.
I could imagine the words of these 'new psalms' being sung in some type of Leonard Cohen album. There is struggle, doubt, alienation, despair, gratitude and self-emptying built into each prayer. Themes which resonate today as they did 4000 years ago.
...There is a hint of a reverse Hound Of Heaven theme running through this book ... chasing God through life and seeking his forgiveness. Hence the title, Redemption Songs.
I found that I read this book over many days before going on my morning walk. It spawned my own thinking about life and the pilgrimage we enjoy. It is a book for the moment ... to be read slowly, flicked through and thought about.
The 71 psalms are numbered (no headings) giving an open-endedness to the lyrics, which invites further thought. I like the authenticity of the lyrics, such an antidote to the narcissism and self-importance shown in world politics at present.
Who is this book for? It's for the reflective, meditative type personality. The retreatant. It's for the harassed, the time-poor and the spiritually barren person. It's for the teacher giving a reflection at a staff briefing.
It is, as the cover states, "for people like us."
I like this book."
Kieran Fouhy, headmaster St Paul's College, Auckland in NZ Catholic 12-25 March 2017
- Publication Date:
- 1540430715 / 9781540430717
- Page Count:
- Binding Type:
- US Trade Paper
- Trim Size:
- 6" x 9"
- Black and White
- Related Categories:
- Religion / Christian Life / Devotional