What I'm Reading During Lent
Updated: Mar 6
The season of Lent is the time when we prepare our hearts for the most critical events in a Christian's life, the death, and resurrection of Jesus. During Lent, Christians worldwide join together to reflect on our sins and our need for a savior. I think books and devotionals are one of the best ways to prepare our hearts for the coming of Easter. As a family, we always go through the guidebook that I wrote on Lent but in addition to that, I always have something that I am personally reading or walking through.
Today I thought I would share what I am reading during Lent. I hope they bless you as much as they have blessed me!
Lent by Esau McCaulley
"A season dedicated to repentance and renewal should not lead us to despair; it should cause us to praise God for his grace."
I love this quote! This book is a beautiful resource for the season of Lent. It moves us beyond looking at Lent as mindless rituals or a time for self-improvement. It not only introduces us to the season of Lent, the prayers, the rituals, and the gravity of sin, but it also points us beyond to God's immeasurable grace and mercy.
Backyard Pilgrim: Forty Days at Godspeed by Matt Canlis
This is a guided pilgrimage through the season of Lent that follows 2 paths: one biblical and one local. The bible path is already charted – 40 verses from Genesis to John’s Gospel following the story of God’s first question to Adam & Eve, “Where are you?” to Jesus Christ’s answer on our behalf: “Here I am for you, in places you’d never expect.”
The parish path is a particular route you choose and then commit to walk 15 minutes a day for forty days.
You do not need to have done the guided study Godspeed to go through the Backyard Pilgrim. But, if you have not heard of the documentary Godspeed, you have to check it out. I went through the study years ago and it really changed how I think about myself, my relationship with God, and my relationship with others.
Godspeed is about a young American pastor with big ideas and what happens when he lands in a rural church in Scotland. From the pastor -
"This is the story of the places and people who taught me the pace of being known. My desire to modernize the church ground to a halt in a Scottish parish. But the first speed bump occurred in a class with Eugene Peterson, which I expected to be fresh and innovative. Instead our textbooks were dated and the lectures slow. My concern was for the future of the church. We didn't need to slow down, the church needed to catch up!
"The second speed bump was arriving in Scotland for further education, and putting aside my dreams to plant a church. Instead, I found myself pastoring a small Scottish parish which had been founded 1600 years earlier, by St. Ninian. That’s when I discovered I had entered a new seminary - the school of the parish - and my teachers were the parishioners and their ordinary lives. By God’s grace and the patient mentoring of a mature congregation, I began my real formation not just as a pastor, but as a human being."
If you are interested, here is the link to the documentary series, Godspeed. There's also a guided study to go along with it and it really is life-changing!
Wendell Berry and the Sabbath Poetry of Lent by The Salt Project
The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. + Isaiah 14:7
If you have followed me for a while then you know that I love Wendell Berry. Instagram must know it, too, because as soon as Lent approached, I started getting ads for this devotional. It looked really intriguing so I decided to buy it and I am so glad that I did! It is really thought-provoking and lovely.
Here's the description of the study:
"In this Lenten devotional, biblical texts and simple, accessible practices walk hand-in-hand with Wendell Berry’s poetic vision of sabbath and the natural world. All you’ll need is your favorite Bible and Wendell Berry’s This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems (the poems may also be found online). Week by week, we’ll walk through the woods together toward Easter morning, keeping sabbath as we go — with Wendell Berry as our guide."
Each one has ministered to me in its own way. I hope they will be a blessing to you as well! Have a blessed Lent!