The 2013 Lenten season is almost upon us. This coming Wednesday marks the beginning of the forty days leading to the Easter celebration. Here are a few resources to enrich your Lenten journey this year.
Lent Resources 2013
What is Lent?
The Christian year centers on the major events of salvation history, celebrating Jesus’ birth, death, resurrection, and the sending of the Holy Spirit. Lent refers to the forty days leading up to Easter. The broad historic Christian tradition has set aside Lent as a time for self-examination, spiritual renewal, and growth. Many Christians use this season as a time for fasting, acts of mercy, repentance and prayer. It is a time to remember that Jesus’ call to discipleship speaks to the smallest details of daily life. Following Jesus on the Lenten journey leads toward the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday. A time that Christians celebrate resurrection and participate in the new life symbolized baptism, an important biblical sign and sacrament associated with this Christian season:
Lent invites us to make our hearts ready for remembering Jesus’ passion and celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. … As a period of preparation, Lent has historically included the instruction of persons for baptism and profession of faith on Easter Sunday; the calling back of those who have become estranged from the church; and efforts by all Christians to deepen their piety, devotion, and readiness to mark the death and resurrection of their Savior. As such, the primary focus of the season is to explore and deepen a “baptismal spirituality” that centers on our union with Christ rather than to function only as an extended meditation on Christ’s suffering and death. The traditional color for the season is purple.
-from the Worship Sourcebook, p.551-552
Reading Plans for Lent:
- Weekly Bible readings for Lent from the Revised Common Lectionary
- Daily Scripture readings and meditation for everyday in Lent
- Read the Church Fathers during Lent. These daily short readings are a great way to gain exposure to the writings of the early Church Fathers.
- Biblical Passages that explore the theme of Baptism during Lent (Thanks to Bruce Benedict for these passages):
Baptized into Christ Jesus and his death – Romans 6:1-14
Children of God and fellows heirs with Christ – Romans 8:12-17
Crucified with Christ – Galatians 2:19-21
Baptized and put on Christ – Galatians 3:27-29
Seated with Him in the heavenlies – Ephesians 2:4-20
One body, one spirit, on Lord, one faith, one baptism – Ephesians 4:1-6
Raised and made alive with him through faith – Colossians 2:9-3:7
Create in me a clean heart, O God – Psalm 51
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord – Psalm 130
Articles about Lent:
- A Brief Guide for Lent (by Bruce Benedict and Elliot Grudem)
- Yes and No: Lent and the Reformed Faith Today – By John Witvliet
- Ash Wednesday Evangelism – Lauren Winner
- The Dust of Adam: On the Rite of Ash Wednesday – David Mills
- Lent – Preparing for Easter – Christ Church East Bay
- On Keeping a Holy Lent – Craig R. Higgins
- 40 Ideas for Lent
- An Easter Sermon for the Church – St. John Chrysostom
- Seeking God’s Face : A prayer resource that provides an entire year of daily prayers and readings from the Psalms and other scriptures.
- Reflecting the Glory: Meditations for Living Christ’s Life in the World, N.T. Wright (Augsburg, 1998): A devotional book of brief meditations about modeling our life after Christ. The book includes a study guide for personal or small group reflection and is ideal for the season of Lent or any other time.
- Reliving the Passion, Walter Wangerin (Zondervan, 1992) Wangerin’s contemporary retelling of the Passion story (from Mark’s version). A forty-day devotional reader for the Lenten season.
- Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster (Harper, 1988) This book explores the “classic Disciplines,” or central spiritual practices, of the Christian faith.
- Forty: Devotions for Lent, Kory Plockmeyer (Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2012) This Lenten devotional explores the biblical motif of “forty” through the stories of Noah, Moses, the exodus, Elijah, and Jonah.
- St. Athanasius – On the Incarnation of the Word is a classic work of theology written by St. Athanasius. He explains why God chose to approach his fallen people in human form. On the Incarnation of the Word was highly recommended by modern writer C.S. Lewis, who suggested that contemporary Christian audiences could benefit from reading more ancient classics. Indeed, though St. Athanasius wrote this text in the 4th century, his style is easy to follow.
- Great Lent: A School of Repentance by Alexander Schmemann is a classic introduction to the meaning of Lent written by a contemporary Orthodox theologian
Contemporary Church Music:
- Rise O’ Buried Lord – Redeemer Church Knoxville (Stream the album for free)
- Songs for Lent – New York Hymns (Free Download of Mp3’s, Music Charts, and Lyrics)
- Songs for the Supper – Cardiphonia (Download and stream the album for free)
- Musical versions of the Kyrie
Classical Composers to check out during Lent:
- Arvo Part
- John Tavener
- James MacMillan
- Taize Music
The Prayer of St. Ephrem
O Lord and Master of my life, give me not the spirit of sloth, despair, lust for power and idle talk.
But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity (integrity), humility, patience and love.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother. For blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.