Lent is coming around the corner. Ash Wednesday is just a few days away. Lent hits at the tail end of winter and right at the cusp of spring, when we remember the forty days Jesus wandered in the wilderness and was tempted by Satan. Usually, people choose to give up something as a way of focusing their lives more on God and prayer. It’s a time of examination and inner pilgrimage, of wrestling with God, a season of intentional seeking. It culminates during Holy Week right at the Passion of the Christ and Resurrection Sunday.
I am not drinking any alcohol for 100 days. So, pretty much that’s what I’m leaning into during Lent. Some of you, like me, didn’t grow up in a church that was all that concerned with the liturgical year. Even though, you’re curious about Lent, you’re not all that sure what to do about it. It’s a good thing I have friends who are smart and knowledgeable and can help us. I put together a list of resources from my friends that I hope you’ll enjoy looking through.
A couple resources you might consider:
Everything Heather writes is brilliant and though-provoking and so deeply earnest. She is a woman who cares for people.
I am not a drawing, painting, sculpting kind of person, at all. I’m terrible at it. However, some of you are incredible artists and for you, drawing, painting, sketching is spiritual practice. This might be such a beautiful book for you to use during these forty days of pilgrimage toward Holy Week.
In December my friend Tess came for a visit. She’s from Chicago. Not only is Tess a great walking companion and dog trainer, which we needed because Olive had just arrived, she’s also a fantastic reader. She introduced me to Jan Richardson, and her latest book, Circle of Grace.
This is a book of blessings for the Liturgical year. The season of Lent … wow. Beautiful.
I’m going to read a few of these blessings on my Instagram feed, if I can get up the courage.
I am always on the hunt for something interesting. I adore books that are off the beaten path, a bit unusual, that maybe invite me see things from a different angle. Lisa Deam is such an interesting writer. Her book, A World Transformed: Exploring the Spirituality of Medieval Maps, is all about medieval maps and pilgrimage.
She runs the Contemplative Writer and sends out a newsletter every Friday. Also, she’s just super smart. I highly recommend you connect with Dr. Lisa. She’s also on Twitter, where we hang out and like each other’s tweets. @LisaKDeam
My friend April Yamasaki, is a Mennonite pastor near Vancouver, Canada. She is awesome. She wrote a book last year for Lent, and April assures us, it crosses over into this year just fine, especially if you’re not super committed to the Lectionary.
Pastor April has written several books. If you aren’t interested in this one, no worries. Take a look at the other works she’s written. I’m sure you’ll find something.
One other Lent resource for you. John and I participated in this Lenten Devotional, with the guys who wrote the book, The Pietist Option. I wrote two devotionals and so did John. It’s free and short: each devotional is only about 200 words. Print it or use it on your phone or tablet. I hope you like it. John and I both wrote our entries with a lot of thought and love.
Chris Gehrz is a history professor at Bethel University. He was super nice to work with. I think he’s put together a good resource for this year’s Lent.
If you’re trying to figure out what to give up for Lent, or even if you should give up something. I’d like to encourage you to really consider it. Don’t just toss it aside and say this isn’t your kind of thing.
This season without alcohol has been very good for me. Some evenings are a challenge as I find ways to press into reality instead of away from it, but I feel strong and whole, present and clear in ways that have long eluded me. For that, I’m thankful.
Just think about it.