Growing up in a Southern Baptist denomination, I knew about Lent but never practiced Lent. In college I participated in an Ash Wednesday service, and even "gave up" a few things for Lent a couple of different years. I had a professor who helped us reflect on how giving something up for Lent may help us prepare to celebrate a risen Savior more.
But that was about it.
Flash forward to now. I am currently part-time staff at our church, and though we are non-denominational we wanted to do something with this tradition of Lent. We are in a series currently called "The Way of Jesus" and studying how counter-cultural His life was and how His entire life was spent in "downward mobility." Lent is all about entering into that downward mobility of Christ.
But I wanted a good resource. I wanted something I could put my hands on that would help me guide our congregation through this new thing. We wanted it to be less about giving up dessert for a month and half and more about entering into the walk to the cross with Christ.
And that's when I found Alicia Britt Chole's book, 40 Days of Decrease: A different kind of hunger, a different kind of fast.
The back of the book says:
We ache deep within to meaningfully honor Christ's resurrection. Yet, in practice, this foal point in the liturgical calendar is often a celebration of public holiday more than it is of humanity's hope. At the day's end, we fall asleep well-fed and perhaps even grateful, yet still somehow something short of awed. Enduring awe is rarely the fruit of a morning's celebration. Enduring awe is the fruit of daily participation with Jesus, our resurrected love.
40 Days of Decrease invites readers to walk with Jesus through the holy decrease of less and loss that led Him cross-ward and beyond. Each day offers a meaningful consideration of Jesus' journey through reading and reflection and then issues a challenging daily fast... [the book] calls communities to a Lenten fasting of apathy, injustice, resentment, hypocrisy, and more for the love of God.It has been incredible. Our church has been challenged, but I have been challenged at deep and real levels.
I could talk about this for awhile, but if you've been following my Lent journey you've seen how powerful these challenges are. And I would even say this doesn't have to just be a book to use during the season of Lent. I would highly recommend it.
I received a free copy of this book through BookLook bloggers but all opinions are my own.