Lenten Study Resources 2017
Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, presents the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection as viewed through the eyes of those who witnessed them. The Sign and the Sacrifice explores the meaning of the cross and the significance of Christ’s resurrection, discussing what these events meant to Jesus’ followers in the early years and what they can say to us today. Williams suggests that “the cross effects a change that happens independently of our efforts or ideas…” What the cross signifies is not always desirable to human beings, still, Williams invites us to never allow the cross to lose its centrality to our faith and the ministry of the church. Williams suggests that we ought to connect ancient truth with contemporary questions, because the ultimate source of hope for our every problem is the cross on which Jesus died.
Forgiveness means that we stop feeling anger toward someone who has done something wrong or to stop blaming someone. Forgiving others and humbly asking them to forgive us are central to Christian discipline. For Christian believers, Lent is the time to reflect on our Christian journey, and an appropriate time to engage and practice forgiveness. Marjorie J. Thompson, author of the best-selling book Soul Feast, invites us to look at our understanding of forgiveness in this six chapter Lenten Study. Thompson invites us to examine forgiveness as a Christian.
Thompson uses biblical examples and real-life situations to examine whether or not forgiveness is necessary in all situations or are there times when Christians do not need to forgive. Is forgiveness a matter between individuals, or is it meaningful only in the context of communities? Getting past emotional barriers to real forgiveness may be challenging. This study guide, appropriate for either individual reflection or group discussion, clarifies and with insight, presents a resource for examining our ability to forgive and to recognise and own need for forgiveness.
This is a daily devotional booklet for Lent. I recommend it for individual use especially for those persons who are preparing to do a daily observance of the Lenten Fast. The Lenten journey is one that is filled with the assurance of God’s presence, provision and protection, because we take a journey along which our God is present and available. Walter Brueggemann’s book, “A Way Other Than Our Own” takes us on a journey through Lent recalling the wilderness and exilic experience of the Israelites to Jesus’ own wilderness temptation in the desert. This “Way” that is not our own, yet a path we are called to take, is the alternative path of “humility, justice and peace…” as he provokes our thoughts to “consider the challenging, beautiful life that comes with walking the way of grace…”
“Friends Foes and Families” is a daily Lenten devotional centred around Bible characters and relationships. Written by Judith Dimon, poet and author, the book invites us to take a deepening daily walk with God through Lent. The commonality of the difficulties of the various Bible characters highlighted in the book: friendship, jealousy, trust, fear and conflicts of various types resonate with those you and I face, wrestle with and overcome daily. The author helps us to visualise ourselves through the life-lens of the Biblical characters as we too go through the cycles of wilderness and temptation, death and resurrection and the meaning of each of these to us as individuals.
Negro Spirituals are well-loved and still used in worship or individual devotional time. “Plenty Good Room” co-authored by Marilyn Thornton and Lewis Baldwin, employs African American Spirituals in a six session Bible Study and music combination. This study compels us to look at the experience of Bible characters, our ancestors’ wilderness experiences, sing their song and make them ours, but also express ourselves through the songs. “Plenty Good Room” is suitable for small group study, choir retreats, Sunday School Lenten observances where children and adults alike can learn new songs. It also lends itself to researching the history of some of these songs which will help to enrich our lived experience through the testimony of these songs as penned by the authors.