Feb. 26 is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. During Lent, Christians prepare to celebrate the miracle of Easter through prayer, fasting and other spiritual disciplines.
New studies and devotional resources are available from Abingdon Press, Upper Room Books and the Society of St. Andrew to help church leaders and congregants experience Lent as a season of reflection and attentiveness. Many are available to order in bulk or come with leader kits. Most are appropriate for individual use and for Sunday school/small group or congregation-wide studies.
Christ Is for Us: Scriptures for the Church Seasons (Abingdon Press)
Following the Year A lectionary for Lent, this seven-week study explores scripture leading to God’s saving and redeeming love through Christ. Each week the Rev. April Yamasaki provides helpful commentary and reflection on the lectionary passages to guide participants through the season of Lent. Order the book here.
The Grace of Les Misérables (Abingdon Press)
The Rev. Matt Rawle explores the Christian concepts in the beloved book/musical Les Misérables. Following the Lenten calendar, this six-week study explores the themes of grace, justice, poverty, revolution, love and hope. Available resources include the book, the leader kit complete with a leader guide, DVD and youth study book and a worship resources flash drive.
The Passion Play: Living the Story of Christ’s Last Days (Abingdon Press)
Passion plays are a centuries-old way Christians have taught and celebrated the story of Christ’s passion. The Rev. Rob Fuquay explores the history of the passion play and how it has served as a teaching tool for Christians. He also addresses the troubling history of anti-Semitism sometimes present in passion plays. Order the book by itself or as a part of a leader kit with a leader guide and DVD containing footage of the Oberammergau Passion Play performed in Bavaria, Germany, every 10 years.
Reckless Love (Abingdon Press)
The Rev. Tom Berlin explores Jesus’ radical command to love our neighbor and its relationship to his other command to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Berlin suggests the best way to deepen our love for God is to better love our family, friends and neighbors. Order the book, leader guide and DVD. The Dakotas and Minnesota annual conferences will host a Lenten video series based on the book featuring an Ash Wednesday message from Bishop Bruce Ough and weekly messages from members of the cabinets.
Renewed by Living Water: Lenten Devotionals (Society of St. Andrew)
These devotions contain daily meditations, prayers and guidance written by pastors, missionaries and laypeople from many different Christian traditions. The 2020 theme is “Renewed by Living Water” and celebrates the unique ways God’s love renews all of us. The devotionals can be used by individuals, small groups or congregations.
The Sanctuary for Lent 2020 (Abingdon Press)
The Rev. Sam McGlothlin uses daily devotionals to take Christians on a 46-day journey through Jesus’ ministry, starting with the Sermon on the Mount and ending in Jerusalem. Each day’s entry includes a scripture reading, suggested devotion and closing spiritual exercise. The devotions are divided into seven weekly themes. The booklets come in packets of 10, perfect for small group studies or mailings.
The Upper Room Lenten Calendar for Children, Youth and Families (Upper Room Books)
Upper Room Books has a free online Lenten Calendar for children, youth and families to use together that offers daily spiritual practices from Ash Wednesday through Easter. Subscribers may receive the daily practices via email and can unsubscribe at any time.
The Walk: Five Essential Practices of the Christian Life (Abingdon Press)
The Rev. Adam Hamilton invites readers to spend the seasons of Lent and Easter cultivating five essential spiritual practices Jesus followed in his own walk with God: worship, study, serving, giving and bearing witness to our faith. Purchase the book by itself or the leader kit that includes a comprehensive leader guide, DVD and separate books for children and youth.
We Are Beloved: A Lenten Journey with Protestant Prayer Beads (Upper Room Books)
Kristen Vincent helps readers feel God’s undying love for them through a seven-week journey through Jesus’ ministry. Each week begins with a scripture passage, suggested devotion, reflection questions and listening meditation. The book comes with a leader guide and small group study material and is available in print, EPub and Kindle formats.
To understand Jesus and his teachings fully requires understanding the Jewish faith he practiced. As Rabbi Evan Moffic provides answers to their burning questions about Judaism, Christians will gain a fuller understanding of Jesus’ life and ministry while appreciating the unique wisdom and richness of Judaism. Order the book here.
Philip J. Brooks is a writer and content developer with the leader communications team at United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.