Here is my wander through a number of Lent books offering you a little glimpse into some of what is available.
Justin Welby, Dethroning Mammon.
This short book well organised into six chapters and offers the possibility of a basis for lent study on the challenging question of what might a Christian make money and materialism. It is focused and grounded in Scripture and asks persistent and searching questions of the reader. How do we handle the power of money? Who will direct our actions and attitudes and how does following Jesus bring hope and freedom in a world ever obsessed with individualism, consumerism and materialism.
Ian Adams, Wilderness Taunts
This is an attractive collection of 20 meditations in word and image focused around the theme of being a hopeful human being. Adams asks his reader to listen to their fears, embrace and name them and in doing so work towards transformation. He is ingenious and creative in using the 40 days in the wilderness of Jesus as a springboard for exploring taunts and difficulties that face us today and so often throw us off balance.
David Bryant, Glimpses of Glory
This is a wonderful book written after the author was diagnosed with terminal cancer and published following his death. He draws widely on poetry, literature, art and music. The text is grounded, refreshing, moving and revealing. Forty short chapters cover a very wide range of themes such as kindness, laughter, guilt, alienation, peace, voyaging and possessions. There is an intensity and focus which you will find transformative. The book will work well for a home group at any time of the year.
Paula Gooder, Let me go there: the spirit of Lent
Sarum College bookshop supporters will be familiar with Paula’s work and approach to opening up Scripture. This completes her series of short books tackling various seasons of the churches year. The question for us is this: how does God meet us in the desert? Written certainly with an eye to providing resource material for lent groups each of the chapters offers a focus of questions for discussion and pointers for further reflection. Accessible, clear and engaging – are part of this writer’s attraction for the general reader.
Samuel Wells Hanging by a Thread: the questions of the cross
The arresting and compelling organising theme of this book is this ‘there was a time when the cross was an answer – today the cross is a question’. This short, tightly argued but fluent book considers the risk, cost and suffering of the cross in the light of six key contemporary concerns. They are the reliability of history; the fragility of trust; mortality; meaning; the nature of power and the character of love. Rich, engaged and stimulating – this book would make a good base for a study group at any time of the year. It is easy to see why Wells is such a popular communicator in today’s church.
Mark Oakley (editor) A Good Year
Talks do not easily translate themselves into the written word but Oakley has gathered together seven bishops who explore the simple question: what can we do to make the seasons good? Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost are all looked at from a rich diversity of perspectives. The final chapter on Pentecost is offered by our own Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne. Stimulating and mostly helpful this book could be profitably used for private study or as a base upon which to explore our journey through the seasons of the churches year
Stephen Cottrell The things He did
Cottrell continues to engage and communicate with an energy and connectivity which are attractive and stimulating. Six chapters concentrate on the events around holy week from Palm Sunday through to Good Friday. The writing is focused and reflective and digs deeply into Scripture. There are helpful pointers for reflection around passages of Scripture at the end of each chapter.
Paul Cox No Body but Yours
For the reader who wants to put their Christian faith into practice this may well be the book that enables and empowers such social action. Cox users the prayer of Teresa of Avila to open up the simple but profound question: how do we show Jesus? This book is written specifically for groups and includes a short act of quiet and worship. Scripture is often used to be read dramatically and for the participants to reconnect with familiar passages. At all points the reader within the study group is asked to think about action.
Amy Boucher Pye The Living Cross
This carefully organised and well written book attempts to get inside the freeing and changing nature of forgiveness. Forty Seven reflections cover the whole of Lent grounded in Scripture and tradition offering a searching and challenging engagement with the heart of our faith.
Principal Sarum College