8 excellent books for Holy Week (5 for adults, 2 for children) — ON SALE at big discount, while supplies last

candle_spirit.jpgI don’t know about you, but for many of us, the week before Easter is a time within time, a holy and meaningful time; I try to spend more time in solitude, the Lenten practices (some of which I do not keep well if at all) of spiritual reading, prayer, fasting, and mid-week church services are intensified.  I hope you have a faith community that does a Maundy Thursday service, and that you take in Good Friday services. Experiencing in some way the flow and rhythm of Christ’s final week seems essential to our own being well grounded in the passion of Christ, our servant King.

Here are six exceptional books for adults, and two more for younger children, that you might find useful to have for next week.

We have them at 30% off, now, unless we sell out. THIS OFFER EXPIRES MARCH 25, 2016.

We can fill orders promptly and have them to you within a few days.

A Glorious Dark- Finding Hope in the Tension Between Belief and Experience .jpgA Glorious Dark: Finding Hope in the Tension Between Belief and Experience A.J. Swoboda (Baker Books) $14.99 SALE PRICE $10.49

In our last BookNotes posted a few days ago I announced A.J. Swoboda’s brand new book, The Dusty Ones: Why Wandering Deepens Your Faith, a beautifully-written and provocative study of exile and being in the desert and on the value of “wandering.” In some ways, that new one is a bit connected to this one from last year which also sounds themes of the messiness of life, the difficulties of faith, questions about suffering and doubt and seeking God in the midst of our pain. The brilliance of this Glorious Dark book — it would be fine to read anytime, as the questions are so universal and his Biblical insight so interesting and helpful — is that it gets at these vital, urgent questions by way of a study of the last part of Holy week, what some call the triduum.

The title itself is wonderful, eh?  Here is what it says on the back cover:
On Thursday as they ate the Passover meal with Jesus, the disciples believed that the kingdom was coming and they were on the front end of a revolution. Then came the tragedy of Friday, and the silence of Saturday. THey ran. They doubted. They espaired. From their perspective, all was lost.
Yet, within the grave, God’s power was still flowing like a mighty river beneath the ice of winter. And then there was Sunday morning.

undoing of death.jpgThe Undoing of Death Fleming Rutledge (Eerdmans) $22.00 OUR SALE PRICE $15.40

I have a well-used hardback copy of this that I read portions of every Lent, and upon which I meditate every Holy Week. A few pages here mean much to me, and Dr. Rutledge’s use of ancient art to illuminate her collection of Holy Week sermons is remarkable. I very highly recommend this. The Undoing of Death is a very precious book, meaty, thoughtful, eloquent, surprising, important.  Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III (a former dean of the Washington National Cathedral) says of this sermon collection,

Here is passionate, unstinting, full-blooded preaching on the deepest mysteries of Christian faith. Fleming Rutledge doesn’t hold back. She brings her formidable intellect and her wide reading to bear on saying what is nearly unsayable: God has overcome the world’s darkness, and what happened on a hill outside of Jerusalem has made all the difference.
The Seven Last Words from the Cross Fleming Rutledge.jpgThe Seven Last Words from the Cross Fleming Rutledge (Eerdmans) $12.00 OUR SALE PRICE $8.40

You may recall that we got to met Rev. Dr. Rutledge this past fall and have been very, very impressed with her major, magisterial tome The Crucifixion. This smaller paperback is a lovely, thorough, solid rumination on each of Christ’s last words and is both warmly devotional but filled with intellectual substance.  As Richard Lischer writes “Fleming Rutledge brings a profound knowledge of the atoning work of Christ to bear on a series of mediations for God’s people. The result is a treasury of wisdom on the cross of Christ. I will continue to read this book.” There is a recommended hymn after each meditation. 

between-midnight-and-dawn-a-literary-guide-to-prayer-for-lent-holy-week-and-eastertide-30.jpgBetween Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide compiled by Sarah Arthur (Paraclete Press) $18.99 SALE PRICE $13.29

I gushed over this at the beginning of Lent (as we had her wonderfully literary volume for Advent, Light Upon Light, and the excellent anthology for Ordinary Time called At the Still Point.) In each of these Arthur (a graduate of Wheaton College and Duke Divinity School) collects wonderfully appropriate readings of poetry, short stories, novels, hymns and other literary treasures, compiling them into a prayer book/devotional. It invites us to experience the liturgical seasons in the company of poets and novelists from across the centuries (and across the globe.) Kathleen Norris also gushed: “What a delight, to find so extraordinary a collection!” And the late Phyllis Tickle (herself a poet) declared her literary guides “a thing of beauty!” Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer… is a very handsomely designed paperback, a lovely, lovely book. We think it would make a much-appreciated gift, too — especially for one who may warm to a re-envisioned sort of devotional.

Lent for Everyone- Luke, Year C- A Daily Devotional .jpgLent for Everyone: Luke (Year C) N.T. Wright (Westminster/John Knox) $16.00 OUR SALE PRICE $11.20

This daily devotional includes stirring reflections for Lent — or anytime – on the lectionary texts for each day from one of the world’s leading New Testament scholars and most important theological writers. This is a great, rather brief overview of the gospel story, walking with Jesus through Luke.  N.T. here uses his own translation o
f the Greek New Testament (that is now available in paperback under the title The Kingdom New Testament) which is itself very interesting and at times quite illuminating. He then offers a brief reflection and prayer and (as it says on the back cover) “helping readers ponder how the text is relevant to their own lives today. By the end of the book, readers will have been through the entirety of Luke, along with Psalm readings for each Sunday.” Lent for Everyone: Luke includes seven devotionals for the week following Easter, as well, and they are good. Readers really get a lot of content.

This jam-packed little volume is a great study for Lent, of course, and very good for Holy Week, but — I hope it is obvious — it is a great resource for anyone studying the gospel of Luke, anytime, or anyone who wants to dip into Wright’s accessible meditations for a few weeks to see what he’s up to.
just-in-time-prayers-for-lent-and-holy-week.jpgPrayers for Lent and Holy Week David N. Mosser (Abingdon) $12.00 OUR SALE PRICE $8.40

Designed for those who plan worship services, I know some people use this series of books (“Just in Time”) for any time they need litanies or prayers for their small groups or church meeting or even family devotions. Not a few people prefer to read prayers instead of devotionals or Bible reflections and this little paperback includes all manner of prayers (invocations, confessions, assurances of pardon, pastoral prayers, offertory prayers, benedictions and the like) for worship experiences all during Lent and Holy Week.  Very useful.


The Garden The Curtain The Cross.jpgThe Garden, The Curtain and the Cross: The True Story of Why Jesus Died and Rose Again Carl Laferton, illustrated by Cataline Echeverrt (The Good Books Company) $14.99 OUR SALE PRICE $10.49

We are fond of much of the up-beat, contemporary, and theologically sound work of this evangelical publisher from the UK. You may recall that last December we raved about their Christmas book, The Christmas Promise, which emphasized Christ’s Kingship in a way both playful and serious. In an energetic manner similar to that one, this new one tells the story of Easter starting with God’s creation of a good world (the garden is not the Garden of Gethsemane, as you might presume in an Easter book, but the Garden of Eden) proceeding to show God’s rescue plan for creation, as unfolded in the dramatic big story of redemption in the Bible.

Jesus’ death is not explained in any unconventional way, except that it seems to remind us that it isn’t an isolated part of the Bible or unrelated to God’s promises and plan and love for all creation. There was once a very good world; we know it know as marred and hurtful; Christ died and rose to bring healing and shalom to his beloved planet. It’s few pages about the temple and Christ’s death causing the “keep out” curtain to be torn is extraordinary. A powerful, artfully rendered two page black and white spread about Jesus “taking” our sins is stunning, simply stunning. The focus on Christ is clear.  This is a very entertaining (even at moments, nearly zany), truly educational, and delightfully inviting book for young children.

he Story of Easter Mary Joslin illustrated by Alida Massari (Lion Press).jpgThe Story of Easter Mary Joslin illustrated by Alida Massari (Lion Press) $14.99 OUR SALE PRICE $10.49

We loved this gifted storyteller and Italian illustrator’s beautiful work in Lion Press’s The Story of Christmas and so appreciate how this similarly fine book — with helpful text and beautiful, rich, pictures that evoke a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern feel — walks us through the life of Jesus, leading up to his last week. With dignity and purpose, the book clarifies the Last Supper (with a beautiful scene of the “new commandment”) and the betrayal and arrest, trial and death and resurrection of Jesus.

This wonderful The Story of Easter makes it clear that Christ’s sacrifice was a cruel power play by the Empire’s leaders, but that the point is Jesus’s joyful coming alive again, ascending, and commissioning others to carry on his work of spreading His love. There is no discussion of penal substitution or why Christ predicted his own death, but the goodness, sorrow and joy of the story is palpable. Very, very nicely done.


while supplies last –
sale expires March 25, 2016

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