Resources for Lent 2019

Monday, March 4, 2019

Lent is my favorite time in the Church calendar. Maybe it's because I'm an Enneagram 1 or maybe it's because the period ends with Resurrection Sunday, but there is something about this time of repentance, contemplation, and humility that stirs my heart to become attuned to God's presence. Lent reminds me that, because of my sin, I am going to die. From dust I was formed, and to dust I will return.

But Lent also reminds me that the crucified and resurrected Christ will never leave me nor forsake me, not even in death. 

Death will come, but life will prevail.

There have been a few years where I didn't observe Lent, and I've noticed that I wasn't ready for the work of resurrection that God wanted to do in me come Easter. Easter was a quick blip on the calendar, just another Sunday in the year. It came and went so quickly, leaving me completely unprepared spiritually.

In our rush to get to the joy of the resurrection, we tend to skip over this period of suffering. We want the empty tomb, but we don't want the painful crucifixion. We certainly don't want to heed Jesus' invitation to follow him to the cross in self-denial. But repentance needs to come before forgiveness.

New life can only be realized when we allow the things within us that are not of the heart and mind of Christ to die.

Maybe you've never observed Lent before and wonder what the fuss is all about. Maybe you grew up fasting something for 40 days and have grown to disdain the practice. Or maybe you've tried it before but aren't sure whether it had any merit. Whatever camp you may fall in, I strongly encourage you to try it this year. Don't be unprepared for the work of resurrection that Christ wants to do in you this Easter.

Start by reading Scripture and praying everyday. Here are some of my favorite resources to guide you through the Lent season:

Wilderness Lent Devotional - My first assignment in my new position as an adult discipleship pastor was to write a devotional in conjunction with the church's sermon series. Because of its themes of testing, trial, and fidelity, I chose to write a 40-day devotional on the Gospel of Mark. There is also an accompanying small group guide and video series. Ironically, I wrote this right before I entered into my own wilderness trial. Reading back through it after writing it is extremely personal... I realize that I had written this for my future (current) self. I am now more confident in these truths from the Gospel of Mark than I was when I first wrote about it.

Breathe Lent Reader - I poured my heart and soul into writing this Lent reader last year. In many ways, this devotional felt like my guts were spilled out in red ink on paper. This devotional connects themes from the Old Testament with the promises of Jesus, inviting us as a Church to live into the new life we have in his life, death, and resurrection. There is a hard copy of this available for purchase here.

The Repentance Project - This is the Lent guide I'm using this year. Written from the perspective of people of color, the daily texts call God's people, especially those who live in the United States, to repent of our deep-seated prejudices and seek racial reconciliation.

A Way Other Than Our Own - Walter Brueggemann is by far my favorite Old Testament scholar, and this book is a treasure trove of wisdom and insight. His scholarship is compelling, but its his poetic and moving presentation that seals the deal for me.

Lent for Everyone - It's written by N.T. Wright. Need I say more? Bonus: he has a book for each Church year (A, B, C) to correspond with the lectionary.

Lent Playlist - This is a list of all of my favorite Lent-related songs that I use to center my thoughts and soothe my soul.

What resources would you add to this list? What are some practices you do to make the most out of the Lent season? What are some old habits you would like to let go or some new habits you would like to add this year?

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