Lent

New studies, devotionals for Lent 2021

A man reads from Lenten study guide. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.
A man reads from Lenten study guide. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Feb. 17 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 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.


Words of Life (Abingdon Press)

The Rev. Adam Hamilton brings modern eyes to the most important set of ethics in history. He considers the commandments in their historical context, considering the meaning of each commandment in Hebrew, unpacking how Jesus reinterpreted them, and showing how every thou-shalt-not was intended to point to a life-giving "thou shalt." Available resources include the book, a leader kit with a leader guide, 5 Words of Life Card Packs and DVD. Also available as a youth study or children's leader guide.


Seven Words: Listening to Christ on the Cross (Abingdon Press)

It’s natural to try and avoid the reality of how Jesus died, but it is from the cross that Jesus shows his deepest love for us. As Jesus draws his final breath and utters his last words, it is then that his deep trust in the Father and his divine glory are revealed. The Rev. Susan Robb looks at Christ’s final words from a biblical and historical perspective, showing how to find life and hope in them. Order the book by itself or purchase the additional leader guide and DVD.


Savior: What the Bible Says about the Cross (Abingdon Press)

 As Christians, we’re taught that Christ died on the cross to bring us salvation. We know this, but do we understand it? What exactly did Jesus do to save us from our sins? Was the cross really necessary? Could there have been another way? The Rev. Magrey deVega explores the mystery of salvation through the cross, helping readers find a deeper love for God and others while strengthening their commitment to follow Jesus. Along with the book itself, readers can purchase a leader guide or DVD.

Walk Humbly: 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 2021 theme is “Walk Humbly” 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 2021(Abingdon Press)

April Casperson 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.


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 bookleader 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.


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. 


Walking in the Wilderness: Seeking God During Lent (Upper Room Books)

For such a time as this, a Lenten book about journeying through the wilderness was the one author Beth A. Richardson needed to write, and its message is one we need to hear. Both the book, and a special online retreat featuring the author, remind us that even though we are living in a time of wilderness and exile, like the Hebrew people, we are not alone. The Holy One walks with us. Book includes daily reflections and weekly spiritual practices, plus a 6-session guide for small groups. The book is available in print or eBook format.


Walking in the Wilderness: An Online Retreat with The Upper Room

Based on the book by Beth A. Richardson. This eCourse runs from February 17–April 4 and includes daily readings from the book, weekly live worship events, space for reflection and interaction with other participants and recorded live sessions. Register today.


Philip J. Brooks is a writer and content developer with the leader communications team at United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.