Seven Last Words: Cross and Creation

March 31, 2021

Seven Last Words: Cross and Creation, the most recent book by Dean Andrew McGowan, was released during Holy Week. With beautiful illustrations by the late Bettina Clowney, Seven Last Words explores the spiritual richness of each of Jesus’ final words.

The cross is regarded as Jesus Christ’s great work of salvation. But is it also a work of creation? Excitingly plumbing Scripture and Christian tradition, Andrew McGowan shows that it is. “Each of Jesus’ seven words from the cross can be understood as a creative act, as a new divine work,” McGowan writes. From the cross, Jesus works forgiveness, bestows Paradise, enacts human relationship, identifies completely with humanity, fulfills Scripture, and reenacts Sabbath.  From early days, Christians—for good reason—linked the original seven days of creation with creation and re-creation at the apex of salvation.  Seven Last Words recovers this linkage in all of its power and perennial freshness.

But that is not all. In addition to surveying the seven last words Jesus spoke, McGowan insists that at the cross “the eternal Word not only speaks, but listens.”  And so he turns to the conversations spoken not only from but to the cross. Here he opens new vistas on the words of Judas, Dismas (the criminal crucified beside Jesus), Mary, God the Father, Longinus (the centurion), and Nicodemus, and ruminates fascinatingly on the accompanying silence of the angels.

Profound and endlessly edifying, Seven Last Words will richly repay reading and rereading. (from the publisher’s notes)

Seven Last Words: Cross and Creation, with illustrations by the late Bettina Clowney, is available from Cascade Books.