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Eugene Peterson's sermons on Revelation released in new book, 'The Hallelujah Banquet'

Eugene Peterson's sermons on Revelation released in new book, 'The Hallelujah Banquet'

Eugene Peterson | Creative Commons

A collection of sermons preached by the late pastor and author of The Message, Eugene Peterson, about the book of Revelation has been published, with more works expected to be released in the near future.

The book, titled The Hallelujah Banquet: How the End of What We Were Reveals Who We Can Be, was released in January by the Colorado Springs, Colorado-based publisher WaterBrook.

Material for the book was chiefly drawn from a sermon series Peterson preached in 1984 at Christ Our King Presbyterian Church of Bel Air, Maryland, a congregation he helped found.

Paul J. Pastor, editor of the book, said in comments emailed to The Christian Post on Thursday that “Peterson had long been a respected influence on me, and the chance to help further share his creative legacy was an honor.”

“I never had the chance to meet Eugene while he was alive, which I lament. But the process of spending so much time in his personal materials and manuscripts has given a unique sense of intimacy with his thought and work,” Pastor said.

Pastor, who also edited Peterson’s authorized biography, told CP that he found the experience of working on the book to be “very special,” adding that there was “a tenderness to Eugene’s work that makes it a nourishing joy to edit.”

“Working with his materials was entering a space of slow, deep meditation on the Scriptures and the Christian life. These materials nearly all were written before Eugene’s writing gained any sort of traction — he was simply the local pastor of a small congregation without anything particularly attention-grabbing about it,” he explained.

“And from that faithful simplicity came remarkably patient and hard-earned wisdom. His insights were rooted in a particular place, and in particular lives. Sitting with that simple wisdom can’t help but impact a person, and I have been impacted.”

Pastor said he expected that at least two more books of Peterson's works would be released, as WaterBrook has access to a prolific archive of the late preacher’s writings.

“My hope is that these posthumous works will be seen as worthy of standing with the rest of his body of work as valuable and beautiful parts of his remarkable legacy,” Pastor said.

The last book of the Bible, Revelation focuses on the final judgment of mankind, describing future events with cryptic imagery whose meaning has been debated among countless clergy and laity.

According to the first sermon in the book, Peterson argues that, despite how many read Revelation, the Bible book “is not a disclosure of future events but the revelation of their inner meaning.”

“It does not tell us what events are going to take place and the dates of their occurrence; it tells us what the meaning of those events is,” stated Peterson, as noted in the book.

“The text gives us a summary of what lies behind the veil, behind the newspaper headlines, behind the expressionless mask of a new calendar.”

According to the editor’s note at the beginning of the book, the limited edits to Peterson's sermons have included the correction of “minor errors” and the removal of “dated references” to things like technology and popular culture.

A prolific author known for his paraphrase of the Bible, titled, The Message, which is often mistakenly considered a translation, Peterson died in 2018 at 85.

"It feels fitting that his death came on a Monday, the day of the week he always honored as a Sabbath during his years as a pastor," stated Peterson's family at the time, as quoted by NavPress, which published The Message.

"After a lifetime of faithful service to the church — running the race with gusto — it is reassuring to know that Eugene has now entered into the fullness of the Kingdom of God and has been embraced by eternal Sabbath."

In November 2019, WaterBrook released A Month of Sundays: Thirty-One Days of Wrestling with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, a devotional featuring sermons and writings from Peterson.

Ingrid Beck, editor of A Month of Sundays, told CP in a 2019 interview that while Peterson “was not heavily involved in the early stages of manuscript development,” before he died, he accepted “the overall concept and title.”

“Once we settled on an overall direction, which was to create a collection of devotional readings anchored in the Gospels, we landed on the rough structure for this book by reading through Eugene’s sermon archives and identifying excerpts that aligned with this concept,” explained Beck at the time.

“Eugene’s work is consistently inspiring and filled with compelling insights for today’s Christians, and it is our sincere hope that A Month of Sundays will draw readers into a deeper understanding of what it means to live as a follower of Jesus.”  

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