Observe Lent this year with 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers—a devotional prepared by the Lexham Press editorial team.
Lent is a 40-day period of prayer, reflection, and preparation for Easter. Traditionally, it runs from Ash Wednesday to Easter (excluding Sundays). And though it’s often associated with church traditions like Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Presbyterianism, Christians from a variety of backgrounds observe Lent with a mixture of fasting, reflection, and repentance.
It was with personal knowledge of the power in the Lent season that the Lexham Press editorial team set out to compile a 40-day devotional to guide you through it. The team that brought you Connect the Testaments, the Lexham Bible Guides, the Studies in Faithlife Living Collection, and the Faithlife Study Bible drew upon the works of great theologians like Augustine of Hippo, Bernard of Clairvaux, John Newton, Charles Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, and many others.
Each day contains a passage of Scripture to facilitate confession, a reading from the Gospels cataloging Christ’s journey to the cross, and a reflection from one of church history’s greatest scholars.
Personally, I’ve been celebrating Lent since 2011, when my home church made a point to observe all the major points on the church calendar. As a faith community, we celebrated together. In the weeks leading up to Lent, our pastor explained the traditional observance practices, unpacked their meanings, and challenged each man and woman to single out something from which we would abstain. He also challenged us to find something with which we’d like to fill the resulting void in our schedule. To punctuate our commitments, a member of the church who also happened to be a skilled carpenter crafted a pair of giant less-than and greater-than signs for the stage. At the close of the second service, each congregant was invited to leave their seat and write a single-word summary of our commitments on each sign. They remained on the stage throughout the Lenten season as a reminder. On Easter Sunday, dozens of resurrection lilies replaced them. Our season of preparation was over. Our celebration had begun.
It was a beautiful season that I will never forget. Our small commitments focused our attention on the work of Christ, and prepared my heart for one of the most meaningful and joyous Easter Sundays I’ve ever experienced.
I’ve had the privilege to preview this resource so that I could share it with you. I sense the same spirit in it that motivated me to rise from my seat and write a commitment on a wooden less-than sign. I was reminded how much more meaningful Easter has been since I started observing a season of preparation. It excites me to imagine that others will enjoy a similar experience thanks to this devotional.