This year Lent begins on the 1st of March. But don’t worry about forgetting it, because in the run up to Lent the conversations you hear will sound strikingly familiar:
‘What I’m giving up for Lent this year is…’
Chocolate, Social Media, and Alcohol are the top three things to be given up over Lent, as if Lent is merely a second go at New Year’s Resolutions, and ones which only have to be endured for a month and a half.
But Jesus didn’t go into the Desert to prove to himself, and others, he could love without Facebook for 40 days. His fasting was not an endurance test, but a space for depth and prayer.
And so, in the spirit of growing deeper in faith over these 40 chocolate-free days, here are our picks of the new books to read over Lent that will deepen your understanding of Easter and Lent.
1. Dethroning Mammon by Justin Welby
For years different Archbishops of Canterbury select a christian author to write a book that focuses on different aspects of Lent, offers space for thought and reflection; but this year is different. The Archbishop of Canterbury himself has written this year’s book.
In the same tone that author David Foster Wallace stated ‘pretty much anything you worship will eat you alive’, Justin Welby asks us what cross we want to be crucified on: a cross of wood, or a cross of gold?
Dethroning Mammon is a challenge to look at what we worship in life, at what we see as valuable both as individuals and as a society, reminding us that we should place our trust in God, rather than of wealth and gold’s clay feet.
2. Let Me Go There by Paula Gooder
From Paula Gooder, the author of the Risen Experience and Journey to the Empty Tomb, is another insightfully written Lent Devotional that looks behind the surface of the season to discover the Spirit within. In it she explores the different elements of Jesus’ 40 journey into the desert, showing how the barren, empty land is a place of spiritual growth. The desert is place we should want to go to because, with great irony, it is a place of meaningful growth.
These short devotions are perfect for setting up a space of thought, and for giving you something to meditate on throughout the day.
3. The Living Cross by Amy Boucher Pye
Seeing no end to Easter, The Living Cross is the perfect book for reminding yourself that forgiveness is ongoing; that it doesn’t end at the cross, just as Jesus’ life didn’t either. Written by Amy Boucher Pye, author of Finding Myself in Britain, this new and encouraging journey through Lent is filled with the relentless hope that is found in bringing the Easter period into your day-to-day life.
4. 40 Days with the Celtic Saints by David Cole
For centuries the lives of the Saints have been an inspiration for those who want to believe that God can indeed work through the flawed vessel that is a human being. Their lives and faith show us the perpetual possibility that is on offer when we commit to God, and over the course of 40 days, this Lent Devotional will explore just that.
40 Days with the Celtic Saints helps you to draw alongside the lives of famous Saints, as well as providing a passage from the Bible and a blessing to encourage you to use Lent to grow into a faith the Saints strove towards each day.
5. God With Us by Rowan Williams
This is a book for deep dives, for the striking insights and readings which bring a newfound appreciation to Jesus’ death and resurrection. God With Us is Rowan Williams’ newest Lent offering and, as well bringing a fresh approach to foundational truths of Christianity. It also offers the chance for discussions with each chapter ending with leading questions to think and talk about with friends and small groups.
6. At the Cross, CWR’s Lent Study for 2017
Every year the Cover-to-Cover series bring you new and interesting ways of exploring Lent, regardless of how much you already know about the season, and this year is no exception. At The Cross looks at the lives of some of the individuals who were present at the Crucifixion of Jesus, offering up unique insights and truths that can be gained from their view of Jesus, and what his death meant for each one of them.
With space for discussion, application, and thought, this year’s Cover-to-Cover study is a great chance to gather a few friends to journey together through the period of Lent with renewed depth, as well as the perfect introducion into the vastly wide-ranging Cover-to-Cover series.
January 6th, 2017 - Posted & Written by Aaron Lewendon