Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Digging Deeper this Lenten Season

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season, is in exactly one week.  Each year when Lent rolls around I tell myself I want to do more this year: I want to spend more time in prayer, I want to strategize and step-up our almsgiving, I want to get more out of our Friday fasting (more than just a fish fry, hahaha....that was a Wisconsin joke....see in Wisconsin fish fries are a thing on Fridays....oh, never mind). Most importantly though, at the end of these 40 days, at the end of the Lenten season, I want to feel closer to Him.  Sadly, most years I fall short.  The Easter season and the Triduum masses never fail to touch my heart, I feel so alive after the Easter mass, but in the days leading up I never feel like I've done enough.

Every year, just before Lent, our church bulletin includes an announcement of a Lenten Bible Study.  Every year I think, "man, I wish we could do that", but the truth is, we can't right now. At this stage in our life, with young kids, (and okay, fine, because we are lazy and never made contact with the babysitter who already said she would be interested if we wanted her to come out once in a while!!!!) we just can't swing a night out every week. 

I saw the announcement again this year and then I received an email with a Lenten book recommendation and I thought....hmmm....this might be a long shot but I wonder if anyone would be interested in doing an online bible study, type-thing?

Would you?

I'm thinking it would work something like this, we pick a book and have a once a week discussion on here - I could write a post and the discussion could take place in the comments, or you (only if you are interested) could do a guest-post and the discussion could still be held in the comments.  Or, we could do an email thread if people are uncomfortable with doing this out in the open, online. It wouldn't have to be overly organized, we could schedule the initial post/discussion for a certain day (Sunday?) and the discussion could take place over the course of the week, as your time permits. And if you miss a week or don't want to discuss publicly at all, but want to still read and follow along, that's absolutely fine.

If you're still with me and at all interested, I've included two book possibilities below.  

The first one, What Jesus Saw from the Cross, was that recommendation that came through that email I mentioned above.  Amazon includes the following description:
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"Written early in this century by Rev. A. G. Sertillanges, a priest who lived in Jerusalem, this acclaimed devotional classic gives you vivid and dramatic details not included in the Gospel: With Jesus, you'll be jostled by crowds as you enter Jerusalem, choke on the dust of the narrow streets, experience the exotic oriental smells of the city at festival time, share the Last Supper with the disciples, stare into the face of Jesus' accusers, and be there as He dies on the Cross.
Read it slowly and prayerfully. The vivid details and the gripping narrative will soon take over: you'll find yourself engaged in a personal retreat, an interior pilgrimage, and a profound meditation on the love and sufferings of Jesus on the Cross."

This book struck me as a good option because I feel like those "vivid details" and "gripping narrative" would make me "dig deeper." The price is about $17 for a paperback but only about $10 for a Kindle edition. Based on the Table of Contents it looks like there are 10 chapters which we would divide up between the weeks.  So, for example, our Week 1 discussion would include Chapters 1 & 2, or something along those lines.

The second book, Lenten Reflections from a Father who Keeps His Promises, is described on Amazon as follows:
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"From Genesis to Jesus, these Lenten reflections based on A Father Who Keeps His Promises highlight biblical characters such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David that lead us to Christ and his sacrifice for us. Delving into the rich history of God's covenant with us, each day's reading gives the reader much to reflect on throughout Lent, culminating with Easter and ending with Divine Mercy Sunday. In addition to the reflection, there is a daily Scripture verse, a prayer, and a relevant question, all designed to deepen the reader's Lenten experience."
If you take a look at the Table of Contents, this book is basically short, daily devotionals for Lent through Easter. I've taken Bible studies in the past that are based on things written by Scott Hahn and have always liked his work (don't be scared if you see that he is Catholic and you are not, it's okay). The price for this one is about $12 for the book, $10 for the Kindle addition and they also have an audiobook option, which I thought would be nice for anyone that has a daily commute.

Several times in the past I've thought of proposing something like this on here but have always shied away. But this year, maybe more than any, I need to dig deeper so I'm going to be choosing one of these books/devotionals to read in the coming weeks and if you're interested I'd love to do it together.


Amanda said...

I would be interested. SOunds like a great way to connect a higher level.

Em said...

Count me in! I am fine with either book, but am perhaps leaning toward the first choice.

Jill said...

Andy and I are in. Kate and I found that the first book doesn't ship right away from Amazon, but I was able to find the first book on for $20 including shipping if you would like a hard copy. Looking forward to it!

CAS said...
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CAS said...

Since I am already doing 3 book studies ( one of them on Balance- hahah) I should refrain from adding another. I would be willing to do a guest blog on the topic of Fasting which is throughout the bible and throughout Jesus's life. I do not practice "lent" at a certain time of year, but do practice the basics of it praying, fasting and giving to poor throughout the year as these are core to Jesus walk. I've done book groups before and it is a good way to get others perspective and great way to learn! You go girl!