Preparing for Lent
Lent 2017 begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1, and lasts until sunset on Holy Saturday, April 15. The Upper Room, Abingdon Press and others have a variety of new resources to use during this season of preparation for Easter.
Christ Is for Us
Christ Is for Us: A Lenten Study Based on the Revised Common Lectionary (Abingdon Press) invites readers to explore God's saving and redeeming love through a seven-week study of the Scripture readings for Lent and Easter. This study by the Rev. April Yamaski is based on the Revised Common Lectionary scriptures. Each chapter includes commentary and reflection on the Old Testament, Epistle, and the Gospel readings for that day. The book – available in print, eBook and large print formats – includes questions for personal reflection and questions and suggested activities for group study.
Sometimes the search is easy: Simply type a question and the answer pops up. But, how do we discover answers to complicated questions and examine the truths that give meaning and purpose to life? In Creed: What Christians Believe and Why (Abingdon Press), the Rev. Adam Hamilton offers some powerful answers contained in the Apostles' Creed, an early statement of foundational Christian beliefs. In this six-week study for Lent, Easter and beyond, Hamilton explores not only what Christians believe, but why they believe it and why it matters. Creed is a complete church-wide program with print and e-versions of the study books and leader's guide, components for youth and children and DVDs for in-church use and streaming.
On The Road to the Cross
Some of the most important lessons of the Easter drama come from those whose names you may not recognize. In On the Road to the Cross: Experience Easter with Those Who Were There (Abingdon Press), the Rev. Rob Burkhart offers the perspectives of these ordinary people, opening the door to a fresh consideration of Easter and its impact on their lives and ours. Both the book and the leader's guide for use with Bible study and other small groups are available in print and as eBooks. The leader's guide includes session outlines, discussion points, questions and prayers.
Plenty Good Room
This unique six-session Bible study combines an in-depth look at scripture, American history and the music and lyrics of African-American spirituals. Plenty Good Room: A Lent Bible Study Based on African-American Spirituals (Abingdon Press) provides biblical, social, and historical analyses of the spirituals "Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit," "This Lonesome Valley," "Bow Down on Your Knees," "Plenty Good Room," "Ain't Dat Good News" and "Were You There?" This study, by Marilyn E. Thornton and Lewis C. Baldwin, is a powerful resource for small groups, Sunday school classes, choirs and other groups seeking to enrich their devotional and spiritual experience through God's word and music.
Often we make a mess of our lives and wonder if there is any redemption. In Restored: Finding Redemption in Our Mess (Abingdon Press), the Rev. Tom Berlin helps us see the mess through the eyes of Christ to find redemption and restoration. Incorporating scripture and the writings of Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, St. Augustine, John Wesley, Evelyn Underhill, and others, Berlin encourages reflection and meditation. DVD and streaming video components supplement the e-pub and print study book and leader's guide. A youth study book is also available in both formats.
Take the Flag
The spiritual life is often compared to a race. In Take the Flag: Following God's Signals in the Race of Your Life (The Upper Room), the Rev. Rob Fuquay offers a parallel between the flags used in auto racing and the signals God sends into our fast-paced lives. In this Bible-based, seven-week study for small groups or congregations, Fuquay uses the parallel to help readers become stronger disciples of Jesus Christ. The book and its companion DVD can be the basis for churchwide study. The book is available in regular and enlarged print as well as digital formats. Visit RobFuquay.com/TaketheFlag for details and samples on the series
The Sanctuary for Lent 2017
The Sanctuary for Lent 2017 (Abingdon Press) by Donald McKim contains brief readings for each day in Lent, including a suggested scripture, a short devotion and a closing prayer. In keeping with the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, each day's devotion includes a quote from one of the church reformers. Sold in packs of 10, the booklet fits in a #10 envelope, enabling churches to include the booklets in their Lent mailings. The Sanctuary for Lent is also available as an eBook.
Wind in the Wilderness
Wind in the Wilderness: A Lenten Study from the Prophets (Abingdon Press) by the Rev. DJ del Rosario focuses on the Hebrew prophets and their message of justice, calling readers to turn their attention to issues of justice in today's world. Each chapter explores a different prophet or prophets. These prophetic messages find their fulfillment in the life and ministry of Jesus, preparing the way for his teaching, healing, death and Resurrection. Readers of the print, ePub and large print books will explore the continuity between the prophetic emphasis on justice and Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom of God.
Worship in Light of the Cross
How can the cross shed light on what we do in worship and why? In Worship in Light of the Cross: Meditations for Lent (The Upper Room), the Rev. John Indermark urges focusing on the cross, its imprint on how we worship as a community and how it transforms our discipleship. This six-week study, available in print and as an eBook, connects corporate worship with daily living. Indemark organizes the daily readings according to the components of corporate worship: gathering, invocation, confession, proclamation, creed, response and sacrament.
And for more ideas ...
Discipleship Ministries offers wide variety of seasonal resources. Included are video resources, ideas for all age groups, lectionary planning helps, music and worship planning aids and devotions/reflections.
United Methodist Men: In Plain View of the Cross – A Lenten Study for Adults (Abingdon Press), a seven-session study by former General Commission on United Methodist Men staff member the Rev. Kwasi Kena, is still available. The cost is $5. Order by sending an email to JStrausbaugh@gcumm.org. UMM also recommends the annual Lenten study from The Society of St. Andrew, an affiliate partner of the commission.
UMC.ORG: In "Beyond Fasting: 10 Tips for a More Meaningful Lent," the Rev. Joe Iovino offers ways of observing Lent that go beyond simply fasting or giving up something you enjoy – serving someone in need, apologizing to someone or visiting those in prison or shut-in due to illness. UMC.org has compiled a number of resources to help churches and individuals observe the season. Also find dozens of ideas and resources for Lent.
United Methodist Women: UMW features weekly reflections for Lent written by members and mission partners.
The Upper Room: Find a Top 10 list of things you can try for Lent. You will also find a Lent 101 and answers to a variety of questions, including "Why DO Lent?"
Compiled by Polly House, a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tennessee, and editorial assistant for Interpreter and Interpreter OnLine.