Perfect introduction for someone wanting to understand lent and also prepare you during the lent season. Will be recommending this to others.
I loved this book by Esau McCaulley. Although he's now an ordained Anglican priest, he grew up in Black churches and came later to the practice of Lent. So, he's an excellent guide for readers wanting to dig deep into the meanings of the various rituals and prayers. One quote that I loved: McCauley describes "the God who has tossed our lives into glorious confusion." Such a perfect description. While not a book of devotions, I can see rereading this at the beginning of Lent to help me orient myself to what God will be doing in me during this season. A new favorite.
I read this as Lent began. I appreciated learning about this season from the Anglican tradition, reflecting on their foundation for the practice and the liturgies used. As this faith tradition hasn't been my own, it was interesting and thorough, even though it's a pretty short book. I was reminded that Lent is a season about repentance, which invited me to consider my own life and areas to surrender and ask for the Lord's grace. He writes, "central to Lent is the idea that we need this kind of renewal consistently throughout our lives. We do not receive God’s grace only when we turn to him at the beginning of our spiritual journey. God’s grace meets us again and again."
Recommend if you're interested in learning more about Lent, even if you're from a different faith tradition, the are good things to consider in preparation for Easter.
*Thanks to Netgally and the publisher for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
“Lent” by Esau McCauley is the first in the Fullness of Time series which sets out to be “reflections on the moods, themes, rituals, prayers, and Scriptures that mark each season. These are not, strictly speaking, devotionals. They are theological and spiritual reflections that seek to provide spiritual formation by helping the reader live fully into the practices of each season.” what I expected wasn’t quite what I read though. It is a lovely short read detailing the key milestones of Lent and the accompanying meaning and practices but predominately from an Anglican perspective referencing regularly the scriptures and rituals they go through.
Esau brings to the topic his insights and reflections but far less so than I was hoping having loved “Reading While Black”. If Lent is unfamiliar to you, this is a gentle invitation to take part. If you are Anglican or have been a part of the rituals but they felt like an item on a to-do list, this book will give you context and encouragement to engage in them. For me, it’s a four out of five, I didn’t gain as much from it as I hoped but appreciate it’s value to others.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from InterVarsity Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in these reviews are completely my own.
I'm already a fan of McCauley's writing, so knew I wanted this book on Lent. Being new to the liturgical calendar, it was helpful for me to read about the history of Lent, to differentiate it from other seasons, like advent. The essay lengths were just right. I'm eager to use this book for the slow and steady walk to Holy Week, and Easter.
“Often, we experience the Lenten fast as either a mindless ritual or self-improvement program. In this short volume, priest and scholar Esau McCaulley introduces the season of Lent, showing us how its prayers and rituals point us not just to our own sinfulness but also beyond it to our merciful Savior.”
Growing up, first, in a non-believing household, then as Baptist, we never did much with Lent. Lent was either non-existent, or a ‘catholic thing’ that for which we, those freed from the hollow recitation of liturgy, didn’t need to bother.
The audacity we displayed, thinking centuries old tradition had nothing to teach us.
Dr. McCaulley, a public theologian, professor, and world-class Twitter follow, takes us through Lent’s purpose, practice, and implementation.
I heard something recently – Rivers are shallow enough from which to sip, and deep enough in which to bathe.
That’s this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and InterVarsity Press for this river of an ARC.
I really enjoyed this book. McCauley does a great job of sharing both a bit of history of how Lent has been observed, as well as his own experience in the Anglican tradition. McCaulley's reflections were a refreshing and eye-opening perspective for understanding Lenten traditions. He paints a beautiful picture of how these liturgies are a blessing to the church and her spiritual formation. The only difficulty I had with this book was that he often stops short of what applying what observing Lent looks like for those who don't attend traditional, liturgical churches. He extends a great invitation into the liturgies of Lent, but for something that is so communally oriented I found it difficult to draw my own applications without the church architecture in place for this observance. Overall, a great book that made me want to press in deeper to my own Lenten practice and embark on the journey of observing with generations of believers before me.
A huge thanks to NetGalley and InterVarsity Press for the advance copy, in exchange for this honest review.
Excellent, highly recommended. Written for mature Christians, this beautifully written set of essays is a really nice resource for Lenten spiritual reading. The readings are thought provoking and aimed at spiritual growth. I especially liked the history of Lent included in this book.
(5/5) I have followed Dr. McCaulley on Twitter for the past few years, and when I saw that he was authoring a short book on Lent, I had to request it! Not being an Anglican or from that tradition, I was (and perhaps to an extent still am) unfamiliar with the liturgical rituals and traditions of the church year beyond Christmas, Easter, and occasionally being called upon to light the Advent candles at church on Sundays in December. I thought the way that McCaulley wrote this book was approachable for those who aren't as knowledgeable, perhaps it is even better for them. This book was a quick and informative read that taught me about the meaning of Lent, the rituals and benefits therein, and the heart of Christ for us in that season of the year. Would definitely recommend!
A good overview of the history and meaning behind Lent. I enjoyed the breakdown of how Lent became to be in many traditions and some of the different liturgy surrounding Lent. A good read for those interested in the Christian calendar and liturgical traditions. Looking forward to the rest of the books in this series.
"We should not see the season of Lent as a series of rules but as a gift of the collected wisdom of the church universal."
"But in the liturgy and the liturgical year I found a way of inhabiting and reflecting more intentionally on elements of Christian life and practice. I found that the liturgy helped me deepen and expand, not undo, the faith I'd been taught."
I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
I so thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed this book on Lent. If you are newer to the practice of Lent or to liturgical traditions, this is a really great introduction and explanation of what Lent is and what happens spiritually in Lent. Dr. McCaulley pastorally walks through Lent in such a way that encourages the reader to face their sinfulness in light of God’s glory, while appreciating Jesus’ sacrifice in our place. He really sits with repentance and lament in a beautiful way. I highly highly encourage reading this book.
An accessible look at the season of lent in the Christian calendar, all done in a friendly conversational style. The bible passages that are woven in are digestible and give pause for personal thought. The text flows as the bible extracts are short and directly relevant and looked at, the footnotes are rare helping the flow.
The book looks at the rituals of lent including fasting, renewal and study. Each week of lent is looked at with a song focus on the days of Holy Week.