Here are few Hearts & Minds picks that you may want to order right away. Now is the time, if you haven’t yet, to focus on this season of the liturgical calendar, entering into this time, and preparing for some intentional attention during the weeks leading up to Holy Week.
Reflecting on the Glory: Meditations for Living Christ’s Life in the World N.T. Wright (Augsburg) $14.99 I hope Augsburg keeps this in print, but one never knows these days, as several publishers seem quick to dump even solid titles. This is, in short, one of the best devotionals on the market. The print is a bit small, but this is worth working on. Splendid, rich, thoughtful, entertaining, informative and a sure companion on the journey of discipleship. I think this is well worth having, worth using more than once, and not only at Lent. I like the way Wright combines serious and thoughtful theology, good exegesis of Bible passages, and always seems to be proclaiming the daily relevance and creation-wide significance of the coming the Christ’s new creation. Yes!
Christians at the Cross: Finding Hope in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus N.T Wright (The Word Among Us Press) $10.95 This is a small collection of several sermons Wright preached in a working-class British town where there was still memory of pain and tragedy from a coal-mining accident, making this especially poignant and powerful in a hurting, broken world. This sort of stuff is needed in these days of wars and earthquakes. He says, “I am convinced that when we bring our griefs and sorrows within the story of God’s own grief and sorrow, and allow them to be held there, God is able to bring healing to us and new possibilities to our lives.” I am sure you know somebody who needs something solid like this.
The Challenge of Easter N.T. Wright (IVP) $6.00 While I’m on a Wright roll, here, allow us to tell you about this thin mass market booklet, taken from his excellent book The Challenge of Jesus. In about 65 pages, he reflects on the question of Jesus’ resurrection, Paul’s take amidst the first-century Messianic movement, the gospel accounts, a meditation called “The Light of the World” and the power of “retaining and forgiving sins.” I’ll mention a few other books on resurrection as we draw nearer to Easter, but for now, this is a helpful overview in a serious, but not scholarly key. Good to give away if you know somebody who needs to be bumped up into a slightly more mature and less sentimental view of the upcoming holiday.
Following Christ: A Lenten Reader to Stretch Your Soul Carmen Acevedo Butcher
(Paraclete) $16.95 Hand-sized, with vividly bright cover, this is a lovely guidebook, with Scripture and excerpts from Francis of Assisi, Hildegard of Bingen, Thomas a Kempis, Richard Rolle, Benedict of Nursia, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, John Chrysostom, Anslem, the desert fathers and mothers, and many more. It follows the “stations of the cross” so provides short reflections grouped in 15 sections tracing Christ’s passion. Butcher (who has a PhD in medieval studies) is also the author of Man of Blessings: A Life of Saint Benedict and A Little Daily Wisdom: Christian Woman Mystics.
Circles of Thorns: Hieronymus Bosch and Being Human Justin Lewis-Anthony (Mowbray) $21.95 When I saw that this was the Mowbray Lent book last year, I couldn’t resist getting it on this side of the Atlantic. With a blurb by philosopher Keith Ward, this is so, so intriguing, isn’t it? Unlike Bosch’s better-known, fantastical “proto-surrealist” paintings, Christ Mocked is “small, still, and somber.” This serious reflection offers great insight into the meaning of Christ’s passion and the human condition by reflecting on this one work (and, of course, drawing others into the conversation—writers as diverse as Thomas a Kempis to Terry Pratchett, Bonaventure to Bob Dylan.” Isn’t it wonder that a painting that is 500 years old be so contemporary, speaking yet again in so many ways…
Making Crosses: A Creative Connection to God Ellen Morris Prewitt (Paraclete) $16.99 You may know Praying in Color or Praying with the Body, both a part of this “active prayer” series. Here, there are designs and meditations for those wanting to use their creative gifts to make crosses as a manner of praying; it includes clear instructions and simple exercises (even journal-like spaces for notes.) Using new and abandoned objects, Prewitt shows us how to take that which are “discarded bits of brokenness” and offer our broken selves to God.
The Mystery of the Cross: Bringing Ancient Christian Images to Life Judith Couchman (IVP) $17.00 This book is spectacular, a fabulously interesting and very moving set of meditations on 40 different kinds of crosses, 40 visual images of different pressed or carved or painted crosses from early Christianity. We’ve carried all of this author’s books over the years, and have commended them often. This is her best, certainly an ecumenical, historical, and very moving tribute to the cross, but also to the act of human art and craftsmanship that tried to capture huge theological claims in etchings and symbol. Gerald Sittser says it is “both fresh and refreshing, new and renewing.” The poet Luci Shaw Says that “the cross stands for all that Jesus did and does for the faithful—a theme emphasized in this outstanding
book.” Ms Couchman has told quite a story here, her own inquisitiveness and hunger of soul that drew her to reflect on the truest truths of the Christian tradition, Christ’s very presence with us in His needy world, and the baffling and endearing mysteries of it all. Please go to this video here (made like a movie trailer for the book) that explains the work, and invites you into these artful meditations. You’ll enjoy the advertisement even if you don’t buy the book. Thank, you, Judith and IVP.
Devotions for Lent from the Mosaic Bible (Tyndale) $2.99 Last fall we promoted the
Mosaic Bible, a New Living Translation that included artwork from global illustrators, some icons and meditations from rich sources both ancient and fairly contemporary. There was a lovely pocket sized, handsomely produced Advent devotional, and now they’ve introduced a Lenten one, with readings from the devotional notes in the Bible, and some evocative artwork. Very, very nicely done, the best little pocket sized devotional of its kind. WE WILL SEND ONE FREE WITH ANY OTHER PURCHASE.
any Lenten book mentioned
a FREE copy of
Devotions for Lent