I am a part of a church tradition that does not normally observe Lent, at least not in my limited experience. I suspect that part of the reason is that many of the people from my church converted to Fundamentalism from Catholicism, so we generally eschewed anything that was related to the traditional liturgies (although Baptists have their own liturgies, but that’s a topic for another day–and possibly a different blog).
I didn’t know anything about Lent until I read Jan Karon’s Mitford Series, which chronicles the life of Father Tim, an Episcopal priest. After reading about the services he led during Lent and Easter, I did a little research about Lent and eventually found Nancy Guthrie’s book, Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross. For the past few years during the season of Lent, I have purposefully ordered my Bible reading and Christian Living reading so I could meditate on Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. I’ve found that setting aside this time to think about Jesus’s suffering on the cross for my sins increases my love for the Savior and makes the entire Easter season more meaningful.
In past years, I’ve read the Gospel accounts of the Holy Week and Christian literature, such as C.J. Mahaney’s Living the Cross-Centered Life and Christ Our Mediator, John Piper’s Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ and Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship.
This year, I am already following a pretty intense Bible reading plan, so I am not going to alter it for Lent, but I am going to pay particular attention to prophecies about Christ’s death and resurrection (as I read in the Old Testament), what Jesus said about the gospel (as I read Luke and John), and what the epistles say about Jesus’s death and resurrection. I’ll occasionally post verses that stand out to me and that follow those themes.
In addition, I’m pulling out my trusted copy of Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, which I’ve read from the past three years or so, and I’ll be reading John Stott’s The Cross of Christ, and if I have time, I’d also like to re-read Michael Barrett’s Complete in Him.
I’m planning on posting links to additional resources in a future post.