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Love's Endeavour, Love's Expense

The Response of Being to the Love of God


Publisher writes

'Morning glory, starlit sky, soaring music, scholar's truth, Flight of swallows, autumn leaves, memory's treasure, grace of youth. Open are the gifts of God, gifts of love to mind and sense; Hidden is love's agony, love's endeavour, love's expense.' These words conclude one of the most influential and best-loved spiritual books of the twentieth century. Nearly forty years after its first publication, Love's Endeavour, Love's Expense remains transforming and compelling. William H. Vanstone explores the nature and cost of authentic love, distinguishing it from destructive imitations, and he reflects on the precarious activity of God in creation, the 'sublime self-giving', which is the ground and source and origin of the universe' and which requires the Creator to wait upon the response to his creation. The late Canon W. H. Vanstone also wrote The Stature of Waiting and Fare Well in Christ.

Judges' and contributors' comments

Martyn Percy: Sorry to be football-y about this, but I do think (Love’s Endeavour, Love’s Expense and The True Wilderness) are Championship not Premiership. … They won’t be read in 150 years’ time.

Peter McGreary: An example of a real prophet who was a priest in the established Church, constantly challenging it to be what it is supposed to be. His voice, now occluded, is needed now more than ever.

Nick Papadopulos: The very best of accessible 20th century Anglican theology. Written after a lifetime’s ministry in housing estate parishes, written out of dissatisfaction with glib accounts of God and of prayer that have simply not ‘worked’ in the parish context, written with rare passion and conviction, Vanstone offers a vision of the suffering God disclosed in Jesus Christ which is immediate, attractive and comprehensible. ‘Thou are God, no monarch thou, throned in easy state to reign …’ It gripped me as a theological student and has never let me go; it has been central to my faith and ministry.

Alan Wilkinson: Vanstone records the gradual discovery of certain truths during 20 years of ministry. In his new housing estate parish where people seemed indifferent to the new church, he believed that the life of the church was of ‘supreme and unconditional importance’. Two schoolboys gave themselves totally to making a model out of unpromising material – as does God. The self-giving work of God, poised between triumph and tragedy, is likened to that of a surgeon, who, exhausted after operating for seven hours, had to be led from the theatre. Vanstone ends with his poem “Morning Glory”, which deservedly has become a memorable hymn.

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