Frederick Buechner's The Alphabet of Grace
is a small but lyrical volume of essays that moves through a single day in three chapters. It is no particular day, and yet, as Buechner suggests, each day of life is an invitation to be truly alive. "Live a day of it and see," he writes. "Nobody claims that it will be entirely painless, but no matter. It is your birthday, and there are many presents to open. The world is to open."
This gets us very close to the sweet center of this little book--and of Buechner's work more generally. He makes no claims for himself as special; "most of the times I am indistinguishable from the rest of the herd that jostles and snuffles at the great trough of life." But he also knows how to listen, how to pay attention to the small moments of life where grace in fact breaks through. Two apple branches clack together: this becomes the metaphor for the "clack-clack" of his life, which is also the sign of "the occasional, obscure glimmering through of grace." Sometimes, this book reminds us, God comes not in the whirlwind but in the still small voice of our ordinary moments. --Doug Thorpe
About the Author
Frederick Buechner, author of more than thirty works of fiction and nonfiction, is an ordained Presbyterian minister. He has been a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His most recent work is Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith.