Friday, 8 February 2013

Christian Reflection on Lent

The latest issue of Christian Reflection, published by the Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, is now available, this one devoted to ‘Lent’. The whole issue is available as a pdf here, and an accompanying Study Guide is available here. The main articles, with their abstracts, are as follows:

Robert B. Kruschwitz
In the Lenten season, which begins the Church’s second cycle of preparation, celebration, and rejoicing, we together work to root out the blindness and deception that prevent us from receiving each other as gracious gifts from God.

Norman Wirzba
Preparing for Joy
Lent is an invitation to honesty and clarity. It can be our preparation for joy because it is the concentrated and disciplined time when we together work to root out the blindness and deception that prevent us from receiving each other as gracious gifts from God.

Nicholas V. Russo
The Early History of Lent
The season of Lent appears after the Council of Nicea. With so many biblical precedents, did it really take the Church more than 300 years to seize upon the idea of fasting for forty days? The early history of Lent is interesting and complex; it is something of a ‘choose your own adventure.’

Scot McKnight
Lent as a Season of Responsive Fasting
Fasting in the Bible is almost always focused on a grievous condition. Fasting is a response to something instead of a means to something else. Lenten fasting, then, is a response to sins and the prospects of death in our culture, our nation, our church, and our own life.

Heidi J. Hornik
Penitence in Christian Art

Other Voices

Eric Howell
‘Come Near Today’

Eric Howell
Worship Service for Ash Wednesday

Carmen Acevedo Butcher
Walking the Walk (of the Stations of the Cross)
Walking the stations of the cross – a devotional path of reflection and repentance based on events in the passion and resurrection of Christ – is being adapted in creative ways today. How did this form of spiritual pilgrimage originate and why is it important for our discipleship?

Heather Hughes
Keeping Vigil
The season of Lent, and especially Holy Week, are traditional times for keeping vigil – an attentive openness to the work of God in our lives and in our world. But what does it mean to keep vigil today, when most of us no longer adhere to the strict discipline of late night prayer?

Alan R. Rudnick
Lessons from a Donkey
What needs to be untied in our lives, so that we can praise and honor God? When it is untied and let go, nothing can stop the love of God and neighbor that is inside of us. Palm Sunday is the day when we, like Jesus’ animal companion, are set loose to be used for the work of God.

Elizabeth Evans Hagan
Remember Our Dust
Lent is an invitation to live with the dust of our humanity – of broken relationships, of spiritual doubts, of fears about the future – to not spend all our energy trying to hide it or rid ourselves of it, but to invite dust into our homes for this season and see what we can learn.

Rachel Marie Stone
The Why and How of Fasting
Is fasting just a spiritualized form of self-denial, or is it essential to our discipleship? The theological reflections and cookbook reviewed here suggest fasting holds the promise of connecting us more deeply to God and to that which God cares about deeply.

Elizabeth Sands Wise
Adding In, Not Giving Up
Many are familiar with ‘giving up’ something for Lent. We should ask a more pertinent question: ‘What are we adding in for Lent this year?’ These books help us add practices of reading, cultivating humility, praying ancient texts, and digging into Scripture to encounter Christ anew.

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