Confession: having spent most of my life worshiping with what I would describe as “low-church Baptists,” I am still very much a novice when it comes to the Christian practice of Lent. Nevertheless, I want to learn; I want to experience this ancient tradition that goes back all the way to the second century AD. I understand that Lent is a 40-day (46 days if counting Sundays) “preparation” for the remembrance and celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus, known as Easter in the West and Pascha in the East. But what does such a preparation look like? What is the purpose of Lent?
Archie Smith has described the purpose of Lent like this:
When it is true to its purpose, Lent will move us closer to being the suffering and resurrected body of Christ in the world. We will find hope in being faithful and strength in being honest. We will be made wiser by our discernment and confession, poised to struggle for wider justice, and enabled to dig deeper wells for the expression of compassion. “Then,” the prophet says, “your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly.”
I’ve clumsily attempted to observe Lent in the past, but I’ve not been overly successful. Fortunately, there are two new collections of Lenten readings for the Accordance Bible Software Library to help me this year. Hopefully these titles will be of benefit to you, too, regardless of whether you have been observing Lent for many years or if you are still learning like me!
We are pleased to announce the release of Chuck DeGroat’s Falling into Goodness: Lenten Reflections and N. T. Wright’s Lent for Everyone. Both of these titles are similar in their approach as they both contain a Scripture reading, devotional thought, and a prayer and/or reflection point. More importantly, both titles are compatible with Accordance’s Daily Reading feature, whether you are reading them in Accordance 12 for Windows and Macintosh or Accordance Mobile on your iOS device.>
Click/tap the image above for a larger view of DeGroat’s Falling into Goodness.
DeGroat’s Falling into Goodness takes its title from John 12:24, which speaks of a grain of wheat falling to the earth to die, only to return bearing much fruit–something that God can use for much good. This is a metaphor for how God wants to use us, and Lent can be that preparation time for God’s good purpose in our lives.
Falling into Goodness (Chuck DeGroat)
Regular Price $9.90
See the review by Wesley Allen.
Wright’s Lent for Everyone is actually a three-volume work that uses the readings of the three-year lectionary cycle (we are currently in Year A). Anyone already familiar with any of Wright’s other For Everyone titles will know what to expect in these volumes.
Click/tap the image above for a larger view of Wright’s Lent for Everyone.
Neither of these titles should be mistaken for “light” devotional thoughts. Rather, both DeGroat and Wright will challenge us and sometimes bluntly confront our assumptions of what it truly means to be a disciple. Whether Lent has been with you for many seasons, or whether you are still a novice like me, consider using either or both of these Lenten tools to challenge and deepen your faith journey.
Lent For Everyone (N. T. Wright)
List Price $48.00
Regular Price $29.90
Lenten cross photo courtesy of Pixabay.com