Intentional preparation for Easter helps us to fully celebrate its magnitude.
Easter Sunday is widely celebrated. In fact, it is one of the highest attended church services of the calendar year. Easter Sunday is a day when all Christians gather to celebrate the gift of salvation in our resurrected Lord. However, the Lenten season that leads up to this day can be overlooked and under appreciated.
Similar to the Advent season, which prepares us for Christ’s arrival into the world, Lent is a period of forty days leading up to Resurrection Sunday that is meant to prepare our hearts and minds for the magnitude of Easter. Lent is about anticipation and preparation. It is a time to nurture spiritual disciplines and reflect on our relationship with God. Lent gives us the opportunity to take a step back in wonderment and expectation for what is to come, so that we might be fully prepared for the experience of Christ’s resurrection.
Below is a list of valuable resources compiled by Emily Reyes to accompany you on your Lenten journey. We trust that they will help you slow down, strengthen your spiritual disciplines, and guide you toward fully anticipating the day when we all will boldly proclaim together, “Christ is risen!” For He is risen indeed!
Jordan Eigsti is Assistant Editor of Holiness Today.
These Forty Days by Jeren Rowell
These Forty Days is a Lenten devotional that provides a reading of Scripture, reflection, prayer, and response for each day of the Lenten season. Dr. Rowell’s writing is unassuming yet profound, and is steeped in Wesleyan theology and thought. These Forty Days will not only provide a meaningful companion during Lent but will add significance to the season itself and explain its importance in the life of the Church.
A Way Other Than Our Own: Devotions for Lent by Walter Brueggemann
This book is a valuable resource on the Lenten journey and provides a daily passage of Scripture, devotional, and prayer. Walter Bruggeman, an Old Testament scholar, glances at the overarching stories in Scripture and shows that the people of God—from Israel’s Exodus to Jesus’ wandering in the desert—have always been called to leave the comfort around them and walk another way. These challenging reflections give depth to the Lenten season.
Bonus - Lent 2017 by The Liturgists
This is a podcast episode done by Science Mike and Michael Gungor, the creators of The Liturgists. In this thirteen-minute episode, these two unpack some of the meaning of Lent and lead listeners in a Lectio Divina, an ancient Christian practice of Scripture reading, meditation, and prayer. The Liturgists also have a daily Lectio Divina available for the Lenten Season on their website, www.theliturgists.com. Their short podcasts provide a time each day during Lent to pause and posture yourself in a way that prepares you to hear from God.
Pauses for Lent: 40 words for 40 days by Trevor Hudson
Trevor Hudson takes one word for each day of Lent and invites his readers to pause, focus on the word, read a scripture and short devotional associated with it, and pray. Being still is a spiritual practice that is often lost in the chaotic and production-addicted culture surrounding us. Pauses for Lent carves out space for God’s presence to be fully realized and felt. Lent is a time to refocus and remember our need for a Savior. Hudson reminds us of that in this book.
Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter by Laura Alary and Ann Boyajian
Make Room is a wonderful way to help children understand and participate in the season of Lent. The excitement and joy of Advent and Easter bookend a season that is difficult to explain sometimes. Make Room is beautifully written and illustrated and tells the story of Jesus. It also provides practical life applications that help you integrate hospitality and self-giving into each day. Through both storytelling and simple examples, Make Room shares ways that children can mirror Jesus and make space for God both in their lives and in the world.
40 Songs for 40 Days: A Lenten Playlist by the Franciscan University of Steubenville
Music has been called the ‘theology of the people.’ Music is what is caught up in the heart and the head, often more deeply than words or sermons. 40 Songs for 40 Days is a Spotify playlist containing worship songs that are based on the themes of Lent. Featuring bands like Rend Collective, Jon Foreman, and The Oh Hellos, this anthology of music is a great way to allow words and prayers of Lent to seep into your heart this season.
Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings by Henri Nouwen
Show Me the Way provides a daily Scripture reading, devotional, and prayer for each of the forty days of Lent. It is full of the eloquence and tenacity of Henri Nouwen, with a new theme for each week. Nouwen—a Catholic priest who taught at Yale and Harvard before leaving academia to pastor a community of people with intellectual disabilities—writes in a way that gently pushes us ever-farther on the Jesus way.
Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter, Plough Publishing House
This book is a compilation of over seventy Lenten and Easter readings spanning twenty centuries. It contains the work of writers such as C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Brennan Manning and Wendell Barry. Bread and Wine is a rich book full of poetry, short stories, devotionals, and prayer. It’s divided into five sections: Invitation, Temptation, Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. The abundance of wisdom found within these pages is sure to convict, inspire, and guide all those who read it.
Ashes to Fire (Years A, B, and C): Daily Reflections from Ash Wednesday to Pentecost, Edited by Merritt J. Nielson
This series of three Lenten devotionals is a fully immersive set of resources designed to help readers encounter Jesus in new ways. While each of the three books focuses on a particular gospel, they all share the intent to guide readers to “refocus on the message of God, reaffirm our call to make disciples, and recommit our lives to Christ.” Each day between Ash Wednesday and Pentecost is mapped out with themed Scripture readings for both morning and evening, guided prayers, and even musical accompaniments that can be enjoyed personally or alongside an entire congregation.
List compiled by Emily Reyes, who is on the pastoral staff of Central Church of the Nazarene in Lenexa, Kansas.
Holiness Today, Mar/Apr 2018