Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: PUZZLE (05/28/20)
TITLE: Sunday Echoes
By Bonnie Kronberger
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It was an unusual opportunity to discuss our writings face-to-face. We live in separate states and I had just arrived for a visit. What a delight for us to explore together her writing of a baffling tale as we sat in her backyard—a glorious imitation of an English garden, surrounded by flowing lime-green ferns and blooming peonies.
I looked up when I finished. “Oh my!” I sighed and sat in silence.
She chuckled and sighed too. “It is quite bizarre, isn’t it?”
I wanted to examine the old book of which she wrote. Together we perused the book cover to cover. I ran my fingers over inscriptions and pencil markings, breathing in the angst of a mother from long ago. You can read that mystery in “What Happened to A.T. Harris?” But I discovered a different puzzle surrounding this book.
Sunday Echoes in Weekday Hours was written by a mother, expressly for her eight children. The author, Mrs. Carey Brock, wife of a church rector, wrote this book for her family to read together on Sunday afternoons. Her dedication states “. . .with the prayer that throughout their week-day hours of their future lives they may never cease to hear the echoes of their childhood’s Sabbath teachings.”
While inspecting the book something caught my attention—the subtitle: A Tale Illustrative of the Collects. What could that mean?
Further examination answered that question. Beyond the title and dedication pages, the preface brought light to the meaning of Collects (KOL-ekts). “The greater part of the Collects (taken from The Book of Common Prayer) are no other than the devout breathings of the primitive Christians and the words which give wings to our petitions, and are expressive of our faith. Mrs. Brock could have selected for the framework of her little volume no portion of our liturgy more full of instruction or of interest.”
I was now captivated by the author and her family, rather than the book. The introduction spoke of the family’s Sunday afternoon interactions. Clearly both mother and father faithfully instructed their children in the holy scriptures. The children were delighted to have the undivided attention of their parents and each knew they would be called on to recite the week’s Collect. Attentive children and undistracted parents engaged in a wonderful give and take, responding enthusiastically with questions and answers. Sunday evenings ended with Mother reading a much anticipated next chapter to eager ears.
Mrs Brock exhausted her resources of suitable books. This may have been the impetus for her writing career. When the children asked her what book she would read next, she replied. “I am puzzled just at this moment to think of a book which I have not read to you in which the younger ones could understand. Papa wished we would read something which would help you all, and especially for the little ones to understand what we read in church, and this makes it more difficult for me to find a book.” I believe Sunday Echoes in Weekday Hours was the result.
I hunger for my grandchildren to be eager to know God’s ways too. It delights me to spend time with them teaching verses and spiritual truths. For them to walk daily in the knowledge of Jesus’s grace and love is my prayer. What is the key to keeping them excited and engaged in a growing relationship with their Lord? Perhaps Mrs. Carey Brock’s stories hold some answers.
Going online, I googled Mrs. Carey Brock and learned she was a prolific writer in her day. 150 years later some of her books are in reprint and most are available in used book stores. I find that quite impressive since I published a book nine months ago and have only sold 200 copies.
As wonderful a story as Sunday Echoes in Weekday Hours is, I determined it was too long and cumbersome for my grandchildren, unfamiliar with Collects. However, Mrs. Brock wrote Dame Wynton’s Home: A Story Illustrative of The Lord’s Prayer. I ordered it at once. It will arrive soon, and I anticipate a summer of reading this book with my grandchildren. Who knows what puzzle might be hidden there? As we read it, may we unravel the spiritual lessons posed for eyes that want to see and ears that want to hear.
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