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This Hallelujah Banquet

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Member Reviews

This short collection of sermons on the seven churches in Revelation is (not surprisingly) quite relevant to our current moment.
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This is the first book of Peterson's I have read and to be honest, it was a mixed bag for me. Parts were encouraging, uplifting, and offered profound insights; parts were rather underwhelming. I think a couple of the editorial choices were ill-informed and would have benefitted from the insight of marginalized people.
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Eugene's sermonic reflections on the book of Revelation are a wonderful resurrection of important words from a truly pastoral heart. Read, pray, and hear the spirit speak! One small note: the sermons are not placed within their historical framework. It might have been helpful for the editor to note any possible context for each.
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I thought this book was interesting. It was not what I expected at all. It’s really more a tour of Revelation on the way to the banquet. It’s insightful and engages your mind. I saw the words of Christ to the churches in a different light. It could feel a little disjointed in places because of how they were putting his sermons/notes together for this. All in all it was good.
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I'm grateful that the editors and publisher of Eugene Peterson's works have taken the time after his death to put together some of his wise and simple sermons. Very few pastors were as well read as Peterson, and his love for others and his desire for spiritual growth is very apparent in this collection. I agree this could also be a wonderful audio rendition, as sermons are meant to be not just read, but heard aloud. His words are deep, wise, and perennially important.
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When Eugene Peterson was promoted to heaven in 2018, I mourned the loss of his voice and his writerly influence. His thinking has been formative in my understanding of the Bible, so I was thrilled to discover Waterbrook’s posthumous release of This Hallelujah Banquet: How the End of What We Were Reveals Who We Can Be based on a sermon series Peterson preached at his church in Maryland in 1984. As with all his books based on Scripture, it is best read with an open Bible nearby and a pen for note taking.

Peterson encourages a reading of Revelation less focused on charts, predictions, and future events and more attentive to the revelation of these events’ “inner meaning.” The God who “makes all things new” (21:5) will be present in the events described in Revelation’s headlines as he is present today, and as he longed to be fully present in the hearts and minds of the seven churches addressed in John’s letters.

For the believer, the Hallelujah Banquet at the end of all things can be a continuation of the boisterous praise begun today. The Revelation is God’s great invitation to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It is God’s great invitation to you and me as well, and it was no surprise to find that Peterson’s exploration of Revelation’s major themes beautifully amplifies the sound of it.
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A wealth of knowledge in a little book. Taken from Peterson's sermons, readers will hear the pastoral teacher coming through loud and clear. He sheds light on the message Christ had for the seven churches, and why each one received the message they did. Great for Bible study teachers in the local church.
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Eugene Peterson passed away on October 22nd, 2018. It seemed all so surreal that one of the most creative and eloquent evangelical voices had left us. Most famous for his work on giving us the paraphrase of the Bible, the MESSAGE, he has also written a number of bestsellers for Christians in general. His writings continue to be a powerful but gentle influence, giving us a fresh perspective on understanding the Bible. Taken from his series of sermons preached during Lent 1984 at Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air Maryland, this book is based on the letters to the seven churches in Revelation. Each chapter follows a similar outline: 1) Part of Christ's character; 2) Strengths and weaknesses of the Church; 3) A promise to remember. The title of the book tells us that in spite of the warning messages that spell out judgment and doom, there are reasons for hope leading to the great hallelujah chorus in heaven. A keynote is that while Revelation often excites us about future happenings, we need to take a step back to reflect on the essence of Jesus' words to us. For all the cares and concerns we have about the future, very often the questions we ask are not the ones that truly matter. Through Revelation, Peterson gives us new insights on how God looks past our superficial questions to supply us with essential answers for today. For instance, he tells us that God didn't say: "I will make all things new," but "I make all things new." For a book about the future, why did Jesus promise us in the present? It is a reminder of the promise of Jesus to be with us always. God is not fickle, unlike human beings. Peterson uses the example of one long lost Church member turning up for service on a sunny Sunday. He thought he would like to give thanks, because of the blessings he had, and also because of the beautiful weather. Everything was doing well and he decided to go to Church. After that Sunday, he was no longer seen. What happened? It is easy to conclude that such a person was a fair-weathered believer. When times are good, he turns up. Otherwise, he goes missing. Thankfully, God is not like that. Whether the seven churches are doing well or not, God is there guiding them. At times they need a strong reprimand. At other times they need gentle encouragement. Being real and authentic is not about giving in to constantly changing emotions. It is about being truthful in spite of our feelings. In other words, when we worship God, we don't let our emotions rule on whether we should worship God or not. God deserves our worship regardless of our feel-good index.

Each of the letters to the seven churches represents a test. For Ephesus, it is a test of her first love. Peterson points out that love is not something we do before or after some event. It is our way of life. Smyrna is a test of our suffering. Reflecting on a town in Delaware that bears the same name, readers are reminded of the martyrs of old, like Polycarp who remained faithful in spite of persecution. Once we accept that suffering is a part of faith, we won't fear as much. Pergamum is a test of our stand for truth. One of Peterson's most powerful words is about our tendency to lie. The big temptation toward lying is due to our tendency to be lazy about seeking the truth. Thyatira is a challenge to be holy. This is not about retreating from the world and to live a monastic lifestyle. Instead, it is a call to be radically different from the values of the world. The sermon on Sardis produces one of the best wordplays of Peterson. While in a Church, a child plays while the father prays. Which is more real and authentic? In Philadelphia, we discover the need to leave our comfort zones and to become a "missile" for outreach. Laodicea is a test of our commitment to discipleship. Ending with the Supper of the Lamb, we are reminded that Revelation brings us all the way back to the worship of Christ. 

My Thoughts
First, though Revelation is often thought of as a letter about the future, it is very much relevant to the present. What Peterson points out in this series on Revelation is that for those who are too focused on the future, don't. God is more present than we think. When Jesus says that He makes all things new, remember that in Him, we are already new and constantly being renewed. For a thankful heart is about appreciating what we already have and sets us on a path of hope to know that the future will bring even more opportunities for appreciation. 

Second, the practical guide at the end of the book is in addition to Peterson's sermons. Called a prayerful guide through Lent, there are invitations to inviting us to examine our hearts via seven themes. They reinforce the earlier sermons given in the book as well as to provide opportunities for readers to reflect. This guide could also be used by church leaders or facilitators using the book as a small group study. Some of the questions are quite penetrating, so readers beware. In fact, the editor had admitted that with the ongoing pandemic, the book would assist us in any journey through "grief, reflection, and hope." I would agree. Looking at the future with hope will definitely help us in our present journeys. 

Third, this book is published posthumously and will thus appear a little less fluid than one Peterson would have written himself. Yet, readers will hear the seven sermons ring out Peterson's style and eloquence. I can imagine hearing Peterson's rasping voice asserting each and every word carefully from the pages of the book. Indeed, through this book, Peterson's sermons are still preaching to us. In that sense, though he is no longer with us, his writings continue to bless us. 
Eugene H. Peterson (1932–2018) was a pastor, scholar, author, and poet. He wrote more than thirty books, including his widely acclaimed paraphrase of the Bible The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language, his memoir, The Pastor, and the bestselling spiritual formation classic A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. Peterson was the founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland, where he served for twenty-nine years before retiring in 1991. With degrees from Seattle Pacific, New York Theological Seminary, and Johns Hopkins University, he served as Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, until retiring in Lakeside, Montana, in 2006.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.

This book has been provided courtesy of WaterBrook Press (An imprint of Random House) and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
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Eugene H. Peterson, well-known pastor, Biblical scholar and author, tackles the book of Revelation and specifically examines John's letters to the churches. Compiled from a series of his sermons, Peterson again shows his ability to make the Bible understandable and relatable to all Christian readers, reinforcing that the Bible speaks to all times and all situations.

The format of each chapter is the same: first, a particular part of Christ's character is presented; then Christ examines the Christians revealing both strengths and weaknesses; Christ commands corrective action; and an urgent promise is given.

The chapters are:
- Beginning at the End - The End is Where We Start
- Ephesus - The Test of Our Love
- Smyrna - The Test of Our Suffering
- Pergamum - The Test of Our Truth
- Thyatira - The Test of Our Holiness
- Sardis - The Test of Our Reality
- Philadelphia - The Test of Our Witness
- Laodicea - The Test of Our Commitment
- This Hallelujah Banquet - The Supper of the Lamb: A Benediction
- The Final Exams - a Guide for Prayerful Introspection

I found this read especially relevant now when we are all living with constant uncertainty regarding so many things: the global pandemic, unending political power struggles, divisiveness, the visible effects of global warming, etc., etc., etc. I highlighted many passages within the book and took additional notes as I read. This is a book I will return to time and again.

My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Multnomah for allowing me to read a copy of this book which is scheduled to be published on 1/26/2021. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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Revelation was written to give Christians hope in desperate times.  Although  the material included in this book was preached by Eugene Peterson in 1968, it  helps us to examine ourselves and prepare with joy for the Hallelujah banquet.  Eugene Peterson uses the words of John to the 7 churches to help us examine our faith and lay hold of the promises of God.  Each of the 7 letters became a new lens through which to view my faith and repent and rejoice in the salvation of the Lord.
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THIS HALLELUYAH BANQUET is from a collection of sermons by EUGENE H. PETERSON in which he encourages us to stand up and be counted as children of the Most High God, no matter what we are going through. He reminds us that all of God's promises are "yes and amen" and that we are to say "yes" as we follow Him, and that "Halleluyah" is a cry of praise which originally came from the lips of martyrs. We see that getting to the end of ourselves and our old way of life is actually our new beginning in Christ and our invitation to partake in the Halleluyah Banquet right here and now.
He goes through the seven churches of Revelation showing how the Lord admonished them for their sin, praised them where praise was due and showed them the way forward, making it personal to us and to present day churches.
It is altogether a lovely book and one I highly recommend to anyone who is serious about their Christian walk. I feel truly blessed to have read it on the first of January as it starts with a new year's message! I will definitely be reading it again!
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Waterbrook & Multnomah. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
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This is a simplified description of the Book of Revelation in the Bible. There are messages from God to the main 7 churches in Revelation, and these are the topic the author has chosen to teach. The rest of Revelation is not discussed. I found this book refreshing and enlightening. Revelation is a difficult Book to understand, and Peterson has made it easy to follow.
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Peterson beautifully captures the universal elements in Revelation, showing that while it may not predict the future in quite the way some Christians want it to (giving clear dates for x and y event, etc.), it is always relevant.
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I was absolutely delighted when I saw that Eugene Peterson had written a new book with the Revelation as its theme. I have long respected this incredible servant of God and have used his transliteration of the Word, The Message, as a resource for both teaching and understanding the Bible. This Hallelujah Banquet is a collection of some of his former sermons and messages that address the behavior of the 7 churches and the invitation to the Hallelujah Banquet. The book is both purposeful and powerful. It gives additional insight into the last days at a time when it is truly needed.

Here are a few take-aways and quotes. (EP in parenthesis and dark print denotes a direct quote from the book.)

The Church in Ephesus - If we do not love, (Which is what human beings do best.) then nothing else we do is adequate to replace it. "For love is not what we do after we get the other things done, if we have any energy left over. Love is what we do, period."  (EP)

The Church in Smyrna - We must get over the "I" disease. One of the worst effects of suffering is the sense of isolation that it brings. We feel that in our pain we are cut off from God and from all friends. (EP)

The Church in Pergamum - Truth is more than telling it. It's all about living it! Christ is our comprehensive, personal truth to be expressed in gestures, actions, and conversations when no one is watching.  (EP)  

The Church in Thyatira - We (and they) live in a Jezebel culture. Success is totally separated from God at all cost! While many believers seem to want to retreat from society, there is no way to be a Christian except in the world.   (EP)

The Church in Sardis - Playing spills out when we are being ourselves. Praying spills out when we are being more than ourselves. (EP)

The Church in Philadelphia - We must stand up to the lies, indifference and evil that is all around us, always taking God's side in our lives!  He gives us the best He has. He also gets the best out of us. He saves us. He also sends us. He cares for us, but He also challenges us. (EP)

The Church in Laodicea - We live in a lukewarm culture. We have so much that we cannot see everything around us (jobs, stuff, successes, families) has taken over what God has done and is doing for us. We are more influenced by the culture than the Cross. Luke-warmness is a human trait. It happens when prosperity takes over life. (EP)

One final quote and something to think on:

If you want to swear, you have to learn a new word in every language. If you want to say, “Praise God,” one word will do that all over the world: hallelujah. (EP)

This book was filled with new revelations. (A bit of a word play, if you don't mind.) I highly recommend it. It will be available for purchase on January 26, 2021. You can pre-order it here.
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Great book that dissects the book of Revelation. It really brought some clarity and application to Jesus' message to the seven churches of the last days. There were some Catholic tones in this book but otherwise Scriptural and well-research. Great for bible studies as well.
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This is the first time I’ve read anything by Eugene Peterson. I enjoyed how he used stories from his life that coordinated with the theme of each chapter. My favorite was the last chapter where he explains what hallelujah and amen mean. 

Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review.
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This Hallelujah Banquet by Eugene H. Peterson is an explanation of the Book of Revelation. I was delighted to read in the Editor’s Note that this book was mainly created from a sermon series that Eugene had preached back in 1984.They were able to gather other materials from his archives and weave together this lovely book. 

I have studied and read through Revelation a number of times. What I love about this particular book is how it does not focus on interpreting all the tiny details, events, and dates but instead asks what is the overall meaning of each of the letters that John wrote. This understanding opens our eyes to God’s presence and how he is working in the days to come. 

This Hallelujah Banquet was a book that I needed to read while in the midst of a pandemic and an intense political season. Eugene H. Peterson, as he always does in his books, gently speaks convicting truths while offering joyful hope. I would recommend this book to all Christians. It will be a book that you can return to over and over again. It will always be relevant. 

This was my first Netgalley book ever. I received it as an ebook and I love it so much that I plan on purchasing a hard copy for my personal library. I want to be able to read it again, make notes, and underline all the sentences I love.
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This Hallelujah Banquet was my first time with the writing of Eugene Peterson. This book served to take a look at the seven churches of Revelation and see what applications each held to life today. As someone who has previously spent most of her time in Revelation focused on the end times prophecy, this book was a breath of fresh air. It was a clear word on what we can learn from these churches and how they still can impact us today.
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This book feels like classic Peterson but somehow more approachable. He writes in common vernacular and explains historical and Biblical reasons for certain passages. Highly recommend to someone who enjoys his work or is in a pit with their life lately. I found it helped me not focus so much on the gloom and doom of the world.
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The depth of understanding with which Eugene Peterson spoke and wrote continues to amaze readers. What a surprise gift is This Hallelujah Banquet. I carefully read with pen and notebook in hand. This is a unique, thoughtful look at the seven churches, applications to modern times plus an explained main purpose of Revelation. The bonus is examination questions at the end. This is a treasure of information.

I received a complimentary copy of the book without obligation. This review is my opinion.
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