Ash Wednesday is tomorrow! We are just about 12 hours away from beginning our 40-day journey through Lent. I have been spending the day getting ready for Ash Wednesday. We are hosting services at Word of Life Church at 7AM, Noon, & 7PM in our Upper Room Prayer & Worship Center. We are using the Book of Common Prayer as our guide, a prayer book dating back to the time of the English Reformation. In reading through the instructions for Ash Wednesday in this prayer book, I was reminded that we observe Lent “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.”
Lent is not just a season of prayer and fasting, but it is also a season of reading, spiritual reading, holy reading. As you join us on this Lenten journey, I encourage you to read in addition to fasting and prayer. Here are some reading ideas for Lent:
Our pastor has complied 40 Meditations on the Holy Week. This guide gives you Scripture reading from the last week of the life of Jesus in the gospels, a short passage for each day during Lent.
2) Books by N.T. Wright
It has been my tradition to a read book about Jesus during the season of Lent and two out of the last three years I have read a book by N.T. Wright who is perhaps the most important living theologian writing and lecturing and preaching on the person of Jesus Christ. This year I am reading Simply Jesus.
3) The Church Fathers
During my first Lenten journey, I read selections from the writings of the Church Fathers, who were early church leaders in the first 300 years or so of the Church. The wonderful people at ChurchYear.net have created an easy to follow guide through the writings of the church fathers. I suggest you follow the “New and Shorter Alternative,” the “LITE plan” as they call it. You can download the complete text here.
4) Other Good Christian Books
There are numerous other books you can read in addition to what I have mentioned above, but adding another book may make your reading list a bit long. In addition to Scripture, and N.T. Wright’s book, I will be reading The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Noll. This book was published in 1994 and has been on my reading list for a long time. I picked it up yesterday, so it has been added to my Lenten reading.
May God bless you on your Lenten journey this year.
This is the prayer I am offering tomorrow at the end of our Ash Wednesday Service. It is from the Catholic Church’s International Committee on English in the Liturgy:
Father in Heaven,
Protect us in our struggle against evil.
As we begin the discipline of Lent,
make this season holy by our self-denial.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.