Lent is the season where Christians look forward to the resurrection of Jesus for 40 days before Easter begins. Lent officially starts March 6th on Ash Wednesday. While Lent is popularly celebrated among Catholics, Episcopalians and Lutherans (and some Methodists) also celebrate Lent. If you didn’t know already, I am Episcopalian and raised Catholic. Therefore, I still celebrate it today.
Lent is also known as the season where someone gives up something for that 40 days. A lot of people choose something food related, while some go to the extreme by giving up social media. I typically give up something food related. I am not sure what I am doing this year yet but I am thinking of giving up fast food for 40 days. My husband and I have gotten a little addicted to Doordash and I think we need to take a little break - at least for our health.
While there are not too many books on Lent, there are a few good ones to check out. So without-further ado, here are 8 books I recommend to read for this Lent season:
If you're looking for a new Lenten experience, here are forty fresh ideas. Some will challenge you to deepen your prayer life; others will open your mind to new ways to serve others. Each of the forty ways includes a reflection to help you understand more about Lent and why it matters. You'll learn how to have a more creative experience of Lent. You'll discover positive, proactive ways to take action instead of the same old routine of giving something up. The result will be spiritual transformation and a closer walk with Christ—not only during Lent but throughout the year.
"Lent For Non-Lent People" is a daily guide to prayer, fasting, rest, and following Jesus for people who want training wheels for Lent. In ordinary language, this book explores prayer, fasting, and Sabbath. There are eight chapters. You can read them as chapters. But if you look closer, you will find seven sections in each chapter, a reading for every day of Lent and a bonus chapter for the week after Easter.
Focus may be a better word than Lent, fasting, or giving up. Often, the best way to give something up is to choose what to focus on instead. In the case of Lent, the intended focus is God. We’ll talk about God a lot. This isn’t a book of how to survive a fast. It’s not about the health implications, good and bad, of fasting or praying or resting. We’re going to give up some time, give some attention, and spend a few minutes, or a few weeks understanding ourselves and God.
Jesus risked his reputation when he entered Jerusalem in a victory parade. He risked his life when he dared to teach in the Temple. His followers risked everything when they left behind their homes, or anointed him with costly perfume. We take risks as we read and re-read these stories, finding new meanings and new challenges.
In Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Week, author, professor, and biblical scholar Amy-Jill Levine explores the biblical texts surrounding the Passion story. She shows us how the text raises ethical and spiritual questions for the reader, and how we all face risk in our Christian experience.
Entering the Passion of Jesus provides a rich and challenging learning experience for small groups and individual readers alike. The book is part of a larger six-week study that is perfect for Lent and includes a DVD, and a comprehensive Leader Guide.
Catholic author and self-described “recovering worrier” Gary Zimak combines practical spirituality, daily scripture readings, and simple action steps to help you kick the worry habit as part of your Lenten renewal. He shows you how to let go of the anxiety-producing areas of life in order to find the lasting peace that comes from trusting God.
During the season of Lent, Catholics and other Christians frequently give up something they enjoy as a measure of penance or self-discipline—and often fall back into old habits at the first “Alleluia!” In Give Up Worry for Lent!, Zimak offers fellow worriers practical, scripture-centered advice on how to relinquish the need to control the uncontrollable—not just for Lent but for good—and how to find peace in Christ.
Together in one special volume, selections from the best of beloved bestselling author C. S. Lewis’s classic works for readers contemplating the "grand miracle" of Jesus’s resurrection.
Preparing for Easter is a concise, handy companion for the faithful of all Christian traditions and the curious to help them deepen their knowledge and consideration of this holy season—a time of reflection as we consider Jesus’s sacrifice and his joyous rise from the dead.
Carefully curated, each selection in Preparing for Easter draws on a major theme in Lewis’s writings on the Christian life, as well as others that consider why we can have confident faith in what happened on the cross.
Lent recalls times of wilderness and wandering, from newly freed Hebrew slaves in exile to Jesus' temptation in the desert. God has always called people out of their safe, walled cities into uncomfortable places, revealing paths they would never have chosen. Despite our culture of self-indulgence, we too are called to walk an alternative path--one of humility, justice, and peace. Walter Brueggemann's thought-provoking reflections for the season of Lent invite us to consider the challenging, beautiful life that comes with walking the way of grace.
Sometimes a pause is good for the soul. It gives us the chance to regroup, reflect, and refocus on God. In Pauses for Lent, Trevor Hudson offers a beautifully minimalist book in which he focuses on one word for each day of Lent. You are invited to pause, focus on the word, read a scripture and a brief meditation related to the word, and then offer a prayer. Pausing in this way will help you carve out time for God and refresh your spirit even in the midst of a busy life. You may find yourself sensing God's presence in a new way and discovering that God wants to meet you in the midst of your life as it is, muddles and all.
For too long Lent has been thought of as a season of self-sacrifice and discipline that sounds to many Christians like a list of spiritual chores. Lenten disciplines become the spiritual equivalent of New Year's resolutions to lose weight, be healthier, or practice better money management. These promises are easily made and often quickly broken, leaving us feeling like we do not measure up to what we should be.
In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul joyfully turns to spiritual practices that draw him closer to God amid persecution and imprisonment. These practices keep Paul connected to a sense of God's power and presence. Joy flows from Paul and becomes a vital part of his relationship with the Philippians.
Because of This I Rejoice is a 6-week study of Philippians that explores what Paul teaches about joyfully practicing spiritual disciplines. The intent of these disciplines is to help us focus less on ourselves and more on God. This Lenten study invites us to engage in the same spiritual practices as a way to grow closer to God and allow joy to flow through our lives.
Do you celebrate Lent? If so, what are you giving up for 40 days this year?