THE MESSENGERS: Revealed
THE MESSENGERS: Revealed. By Lisa M. Clark. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2018. 279 pages. $12.99.
*This review contains spoilers of the previous book in the trilogy The Messengers: Discovered*
The Messengers: Revealed by Lisa M. Clark is the third and final volume of CPH’s dystopian trilogy.
The oppressive government of New Morgan is increasingly aggressive in its attempts to stamp out Christianity, but Simon Clay is learning that there are enemies to his faith far worse than the government. Reeling from the tragic death of his father and the heart-rending betrayal of a friend, Simon must constantly battle doubt, despair, and distrust, all the while trying to proclaim the Good News of Christ to others.
Lisa Clark has increased the pacing of this book, making it the fastest moving book of the three. This is a welcome change from her previous volume. Issues of discord were not unnecessarily drawn out for the sake of stretching out the plot but were resolved quickly, efficiently, and satisfactorily.
There was a spiritual maturity to the younger characters of the book that was lacking in the previous volumes. Simon’s evaluation of what betrayers all share in common was particularly insightful and wise.
One of the challenges of this book is the frequent citation of Bible verses. The characters of this book are always quoting Scripture to one another in an effort to lift spirits and instill courage. This is an endearing feature of the book, but it also lacks verisimilitude. We don’t live in a world like that. You don’t see teenagers patting each other on the back while whispering Psalms and citations of Romans into each other’s ears for encouragement. As a pastor, I often cite Scripture to my members, but I rarely find these words accompanied with the immediate impact of peace and serenity that is often described in this book.
Of course, that’s the point of this book. The book challenges the reader’s casual dismissal of God’s Word. God’s Word is ubiquitous. We can access God’s Word at any time. We have Google and smartphone apps and Bibles of every shape, size, function, and translation. Our problem, however, is that we don’t consult it. We don’t internalize it. We don’t commit it to memory. God’s Word doesn’t often function as a lamp for a feet and a light to our path. We’ve traded our familiarity with God’s Word for a fleeting confidence in our easy accessibility to it. Lisa Clark’s book challenges the reader against such complacency, with the result that the world she’s created is so foreign to us it’s almost unrelateable.
The Messengers is a wholesome trilogy. Most dystopias shock the reader to get them to reevaluate their existence and purpose in life. This trilogy also does that, but it doesn’t leave the reader grasping at straws of hope or searching for their own meaning in life. It plugs them into the hope of Jesus Christ our Lord, and then walks them through the struggle of living that life of hope amidst fears and doubts and attacks.
Rev. Timothy A. Koch, Pastor of Concordia and Immanuel Lutheran Churches in Cresbard and Wecota, South Dakota.