Ash Wednesday, March 6, marks the beginning of the season of Lent during which Christians prepare for the miracle of Easter.
New studies and devotional resources are available from Abingdon Press, Upper Room Books, the Society of St. Andrew and the General Commission on Religion and Race to help leaders and congregations enter Lent and Easter with a spirit of joy and hope. Many are available to order in bulk or come with leader kits. Most are appropriate for individual use or for Sunday school/small group or congregation-wide studies.
Because of This I Rejoice (The Upper Room)
Many Christians think of Lent as a season of spiritual chores. What if they approached Lent with the spirit of joy? The Rev. Max O. Vincent's six-week study of Philippians encourages joyfully practicing the spiritual disciplines as a way to grow closer to God. Readers can also register for a six-week e-learning course with videos, audio recordings and group discussions led by Vincent, senior pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Atlanta, and Upper Room editor Erin Palmer.
Erin R. Floyd tells the story of Easter according to the Gospel of John. The book comes with puzzles, a calendar and stickers — and Easter eggs for children to find on each page.
Divine Friendship (Upper Room Books)
The Rev. Trevor Hudson, Anthony Egan, SJ, and Russell Pollitt, SJ, offer practical tips for developing a greater friendship with God during Lent. Readers reflect on scripture daily then talk to God in prayer/meditation, just as they would their best friend.
The Gift of New Creation: Scriptures for the Church Seasons (Abingdon Press)
The Rev. Thomas L. Ehrich, former Wall Street Journal reporter, invites readers to discover the new creation of God's redeeming love through Bible readings during the season of Lent. Based on the lectionary, the scripture passages call readers to contemplate God's new creation through the Passion and Resurrection.
Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner's Guide to Holy Week (Abingdon Press)
Well-known New Testament Professor Amy-Jill Levine invites readers to deepen their understanding of Jesus' final days before the Resurrection by exploring the biblical text of the Passion and looking at the "ordinary" people who witnessed the events. Order the book by itself or the leadership kit with a leader's guide and DVD.
The Sanctuary for Lent 2019 (Abingdon Press)
This book contains readings for each day of Lent, including scripture, a devotion and a prayer. The Rev. Juan Huertas, pastor of Grace Community United Methodist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana, journeys through Lent and prepares the reader to celebrate the Resurrection. Sold in packets of 10, this study can easily be mailed in a regular business-size envelope.
A Resurrection Shaped Life: Dying and Rising on Planet Earth (Abingdon Press)
Jesus' Resurrection was an extraordinary, single event, but anyone can experience resurrection in their own lives. Episcopal Bishop Jake Owensby re-examines the biblical concept of resurrection and how it influences the lives of all God's people.
Seasons of Joy and Gladness: Lenten Devotions (The Society of St. Andrew)
These devotions contain daily meditations, prayers and guidance written by pastors, missionaries and laypeople from many different Christian traditions.
Lenten Study: Resisting Racism (General Commission on Religion and Race)
Resisting racism requires learning new information, a willingness to make change and commitment to the tangible work of disrupting and dismantling racism. The resources presented in this package have been created and framed for both individuals and groups to engage during the Lenten season.