The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Journey into Love and Once


Journey into Love: From Fear to Freedom is by Nan Merrill, founder and editor of the monthly newsletter Friends of Silence. She has served with urban parish teams, facilitated retreats and been engaged in prison ministry for more than 30 years. Her Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness was recently published in a 10th anniversary edition. This new book offers a journey into love via many pilgrimage paths. She bases her explorations of the blessings and challenges of each path on a biblical journey.

The Road to Damascus is the journey Paul took, and it involves opening to grace. The Road into the Wilderness is the one taken by John the Baptist, and it introduces us to his humble way. The Road Through the Wilderness covers the temptations of Christ. The Road to Jericho compels us to look deeply at the parable of the Good Samaritan and its meaning for our lives. The Road to Jerusalem leads to Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. The Road to Emmaus is recommended when we find ourselves overcome by praise and gratitude. The Road to Galilee is the one we take as we are led by the Spirit of Truth, our angels and our guides.

Throughout this paperback, Merrill shares her ideas on the importance of silence, the guidance of dreams, the miracle of grace and the process of entering biblical stories. Traveling these roads with the author as a tour guide, we relish the LoveConsciousness (her word) that animates the devotional life (Continuum, 2007).


Once is a charming and endearing Irish film about two down-and-out individuals who collaborate on a musical project that deeply enriches them both in surprising ways. He (Glen Hansard) is a street musician in Dublin who plays his own songs at night and the ones people like to hear during the day. He has used the recent breakup with his girlfriend as material for his latest songs. She is a Czech immigrant (Marketa Irglova) who lives with her mother and small child. To earn money, she sells flowers on the street; he repairs vacuum cleaners.

When she hears him playing his music, she is impressed and strikes up a conversation. Later, when they visit a music store together, he shows her one of his compositions, and she improvises on the piano, singing backup to his vocals. He is totally floored by her love of his songs and her talent. Before long, they are making beautiful music together in a recording studio with several other musicians.

Irish writer and director John Carney calls his film an “art-house musical,” and it succeeds in drawing us into the orb of these two unassuming individuals. The folk-rock music really works, and the performances by the two leads are filled with charm and vulnerability as their friendship changes both their lives (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, R-language).


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February issue


Embracing diversity