Updated Music Links from prior years’ devotionals

March 18, 2014

I’m in the process of updating music links in various posts from prior years (especially our 2012 Holy Week devotional series)

Updated music links include:

Dan Schutte:  Behold the Wood.

John Michael Talbot:  Prayer Before the Cross.

both from this Good Friday devotional.

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Michael Card:  Lift Up the Suffering Symbol

from this Good Friday devotional

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By His Wounds (Brian Littrell, Mac Powell, Mark Hall & Steven Curtis Chapman, from the 2007 album Glory Revealed, iTunes link)

Stricken Smitten and Afflicted (Fernando Ortega, from his 2005 Album Beginnings, iTunes link)


both from this Maundy Thursday / Good Friday devotional

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Gethsemane (To See the King of Heaven Fall) -  (by Stuart Townend, Keith & Kristyn Getty, from the albun Have You Heard by Stuart Townend. 2008 )

From this Mandy Thursday devotional.

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The Sacrifice Lamb (by Lamb, from their 1995 album Lamb Favorites)

from this Maundy Thursday devotional post

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Create in Me A Clean Heart.  (John Michael Talbot and Terry Talbot, from their 1980 album, The Painter, iTunes link)

from this Ash Wednesday Devotional

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More updated links coming soon….


Miserere mei, Deus: Music and poetry for a Lenten Friday

March 13, 2014

Thanks to Emily at Barnstorming for such a beautiful post yesterday.

Her Lent devotional features Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere, setting of Psalm 51, sung by the choir of Clare College, Cambridge.  It’s absolutely worth the full 12 minutes.  Truly FANTASTIC.

You can buy this rendition of Allegri’s Miserere at Amazon, from the album Choral Classics from Cambridge.

As you listen to this incredible musical setting of Scripture, ponder the truth that God indeed shows mercy towards and washes clean all who cry out for forgiveness in Christ’s name and turn to Him in repentance.

Here’s what Emily writes in her reflection:

Every day, as the sun goes down,
I pause to remember how often I messed up that day,
in big and small ways.
My mistakes seem illuminated,
weighing down my heart, and impossible to forget.
Yet, as I pray like David did in Psalm 51,
as I pray for mercy,
there follows a peacefulness at the end of the day,
as my errors are blotted out,
covered over by the descent of the night.
The slate, one more time,
is wiped clean,
whiter than snow.

I remember, once again,
as new morning dawns,
there is renewal,
there is cleansing brightness,
a promise provided within each new day.

I am given another chance to get it right.

Oh how wonderful the truth of God’s mercy, pardon, and His cleansing of our hearts!


Calvin Institute of Christian Worship: Lent Resource Guide

March 7, 2014

I may have linked some of the featured resources in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen or linked this Index of excellent Lent Resources from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship website.  Check it out!

LENT RESOURCE GUIDE


Lent Quotes: Ann Voskamp – the ONE big question to ask in Lent

March 5, 2014

I enjoyed Ann Voskamp’s Advent Devotional “The Greatest Gift”, so I went to her blog, A Holy Experience, today to see what she might be posting for Lent.   She’s got a devotional post today from John 4:13-14 (part of a year-long Scripture memory project of passages from John’s Gospel).

“Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.
The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

In reflecting on that passage, she identifies a key question to be asking on Ash Wednesday, and throughout the 40 days of Lent:

Maybe the one big  question to be asking myself on Ash Wednesday is:

Give up something or don’t — the point is:

How am I giving more of myself to Jesus?

Great question!

Here’s more from Ann Voskamp on Lent, including information on how to download her free short Lent / Easter family devotional “Trail to the Tree.”


First Things: two Ash Wednesday meditations on the poetry of T.S. Eliot and Christina Rossetti

March 5, 2014

Go to First Things – NOW!  Two fantastic Ash Wednesday reflections.  I particularly appreciated the entry about Christina Rossetti and her Ash Wednesday poems.  I’d never known the history…

Christina Rossetti’s Lenten Life,a season of penitence, a season of preparation—and a season of hope

These Bones Shall Live, The Hope of T. S. Eliot’s Ash-Wednesday


A Classic Ash Wednesday Post from our Archives #2: Seek the Lord and Live

March 5, 2014

Back in 2006 at the original site for Lent & Beyond, we hosted a Lent “blog carnival” with daily entries for Lent from various Anglican bloggers.  It was a great series.   I had the joy of penning the Ash Wednesday devotional for that series.  While clicking through some of our Lent links compilations the other day to make sure the links were still working, I happened to reread my post from 8 years ago, and I found the Lord using what I’d written then to  challenge me afresh.

So here’s an excerpt and the link to that Ash Wednesday devotional from 2006.

Seek the LORD and live…

Those are the opening words of the OT daily office reading from Amos for today, Ash Wednesday (ECUSA 1979 lectionary). I find it interesting that we have a call to choose life on a day when the liturgy during the imposition of ashes reminds us of our mortality:

Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth: Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

and: Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

The theme of finding life through submission and obedience to in the Lord continues in the NT lesson from Hebrews 12, in verse 9:

Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!

Do we truly believe that in Christ is life, and that to live we must submit to our heavenly Father?

I don’t just mean this in terms of salvation and eternal life and the debates about apologetics, and the uniqueness of Christ in which we so often get caught up. I am asking myself this question today and challenging each of us to ask it of ourselves daily throughout Lent. Is Christ our life? Are we willing to submit our wills and desires to God? To choose to do what pleases Him? Do we believe that the joy, life and freedom He offers, that we find in yielding to and obeying Him is better, more satisfying than the empty pleasures of this world?

You can read the whole entry here.


A Classic Ash Wednesday Post from our Archives #1: Matt Kennedy on Lenten Disciplines

March 5, 2014

Back in 2005, the Rev. Matt Kennedy, an Anglican rector in Binghamton NY wrote a short article about Lent for his parish newsletter, which we posted on the original site for Lent & Beyond.  I think it’s one of the best pieces for Lent I’ve ever read in terms of really solid practical advice (for believers AND non-believers) about how to choose a Lenten discipline…

This year (2014) Fr. Matt has produced a short video (7 minutes) about Lent which covers some of the same ideas, which is highly recommended.  But I wanted to repost Fr. Matt’s original 2005 article as well, since it’s one of my favorite entries from the last 10 years.  Who can forget the memorable line: “if you have a problem with lust, don’t give up chocolate”?!

Here’s an excerpt from Fr. Matt’s 2005 article:

For believers, Lent can be a time when you actively work to rid yourself of sins that have grown into habits and/or addictions (yes, this should be something we do all year round but it’s helpful to have a time like Lent set aside for that very purpose).

So, rather than thinking about what vice to give up or what discipline to add, a better place to start is prayer. Ask God to search your heart and bring to your mind those habits of thought, word, and/or deed that displease him most. (Sometimes what is displeasing in your life will be so obvious that you won’t even need to pray, you’ll just know. The Holy Spirit living inside you will have made it abundantly clear already). When you ask this in sincerity you can be sure that God will provide you with an answer.

This answer will tell you whether you need to add a discipline or be rid of a behavior or attitude. If, for example you believe that God wants you to be more committed to studying scripture, then you should probably consider adding personal or group bible study to your routine. If on the other hand you believe God is displeased with the amount of time you spend on the internet or the kinds of things you look at on-line, then you should probably consider cutting out or down on your computer usage or installing some parental control program to keep you accountable (even if, especially if, you’re a parent).

In other words, your Lenten discipline should not be arbitrary. If you have a problem with lust, don’t give up chocolate. Give up whatever it is that leads you into lustful behavior. And don’t just give it up for Lent, use Lent to give it up forever. Let the Lord know that you are committed to turning from the sin he has shown you and then ask him to help you in your task though the power of his Holy Spirit.

If you are not a believer then you don’t just need to turn around a habit or an attitude. God is calling you to turn your life around. He loves you so much that he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die in your place. Through Jesus, God is offering you the opportunity to be forgiven and made clean. No more guilt, no more burden, no more despair. In Jesus Christ you will have life and have it abundantly. It’s your choice. If you’re tired of living life apart from God, then let him know. You can say it like this:

“Lord Jesus I am a sinner. I’m lost and on my own I can’t find my way home. But you died on the cross to save me from the eternal consequences of my sins and today, this very moment, I repent and I put my life in your hands. I want to be with you forever. Come into my heart Lord Jesus and make your home there. I give my life to you. I pray this in your holy Name. Amen.”

You can read the full entry here.


An overview of traditional Lenten observances

March 5, 2014

The blog Piety Hill Musings, by the rector of St. John’s church in Detroit, has an excellent short overview of 12 traditional Lenten observances. It’s a great resource for those who want to learn more about Lent, and as you consider and pray about what spiritual disciplines to focus on in this season of the church year.

Here are a few excerpts:

1. Fasting – The weekdays of Lent are fast days, meaning that the amount of food is reduced. A good (if modern) suggestion is no snacks, no seconds, no desserts, and no alcohol. If you don’t normally eat snacks or drink, you may consider giving up some favorite food. The idea is to undertake something sacrificial, yet not overwhelming. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are strict fast days: one full meal in the evening, a very light one in the afternoon and for some nothing before 3pm. Those who are ill, elderly, pregnant or nursing are excused from this discipline. (Page li, 1928 B.C.P.)  [...]

4. Daily Office  – If you do not now read Morning and/or Evening Prayer from the Prayer Book, Lent is a good time to begin doing so.  It takes some effort and discipline to get the habit established, but once accomplished, it can bear great fruit in your spiritual life.  Each Office takes 10-15 minutes a day.   Ask the Clergy if you need help in how to do it.

5. Spiritual Reading  – An ancient custom is to take a spiritual book for regular reading during Lent.  This can be a book on the Scriptures, or one of the spiritual classics.   Many are available in the parish library, and the clergy would be happy to make suggestions as well.

Check it out.

You might be VERY SURPRISED by #12 on the list….!

I don’t think too many people usually include evangelism in their list of Lenten disciplines.  What a great reminder!


Biola University – “The Lent Project” website (new link)

March 5, 2014

Earlier this week I included a link to Biola University’s “Lent Project” website in my short roundup of new Lent links for 2014.

I just discovered that was only a temporary link announcing the site.  The permanent link during Lent is here:

http://ccca.biola.edu/lent/

I really enjoyed the Biola online Advent calendar, and expect good things from their Lent Project website.

Here’s an excerpt from today’s Ash Wednesday devotional:

Ash Wednesday is sorrow and tears, a reminder of mortality and the breakability of all earthly things; but it’s also a glimpse of the eternal newness and redemption just beyond the horizon. The sun will rise.

For me Ash Wednesday symbolizes, rather neatly, what it means to be a Christian. It’s not about being beautiful or powerful or triumphant; it’s about being scarred and humble and sacrificial. This is not to say it’s about defeat, despair or self-flagellation. On the contrary, to “give up” or “sacrifice” in the name of Christ is (or should be) the height of our joy. Suffering is not something to shrink from. Giving ourselves away to others is our calling. Dying to ourselves is our glorious inheritance.

“Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it,” said Jesus (Matt. 16:25). “To live is Christ and to die is gain,” wrote Paul (Phil. 1:21).   [...]

In his beautiful 2013 book Death By Living, N.D. Wilson writes about how each human story — messy and mortal and fallen as it is — can be a unique testimony to Christ’s resurrection work.

From the compost of our efforts, God brings glory. … By His grace, we are the water made wine. We are the dust made flesh made dust made flesh again. We are the whores made brides and the thieves made saints and the killers made apostles. We are the dead made living. We are His cross.

No life is beyond the redemptive power of the Holy Spirit. Even the ugliest, darkest, most hopeless and broken among us are not far from the wholeness and light of life in Christ.


Lent 2013: Index of all our 2013 Lent Entries

March 3, 2014

Our Lenten blogging was a bit sporadic here at Lent & Beyond in 2013 (unlike 2012 when we blogged pretty much every day of Lent – you can find our 2012 Lent posts index here.)  But although the quantity of posts was less, there are some entries that are very worth revisiting.  Here’s an index, by primary category, of all our Lent posts during 2013:

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Devotionals:

A Musical Confession for Lent: Crippled Soul, by Sojourn

Lenten Devotional Reflection on John 3 – Coming Into the Light

A Lenten Meditation on the Golden Calf and Our Own Sin

A Practical Suggestion for Lent – Remembering God’s Goodness and Grace

A Musical Prayer for an Ash Wednesday Evening

“The Lenten Call” – a poem by Teresa Roberts Johnson

A Great Essay by Mark Galli for Lent – Lent is Not Just Another Self-Improvement Routine

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Prayers:

A Prayer for Wednesday in Holy Week

Lent Prayers – A Puritan Prayer to Cling to Christ and Rest on Him

Lent Prayers: Forgive what our lips tremble to name

Scotty Smith’s Ash Wednesday Prayer: “Over these next forty days give us an insatiable hunger for yourself”

A Musical Prayer for an Ash Wednesday Evening

Ash Wednesday: A favorite prayer from St. Augustine

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Quotes:

A Holy Week and Good Friday Reflection – St. Augustine

A quote for Maundy Thursday – Christ washes our hearts, not just our feet

Lent Quotes: St. John Chrysostom on the Study of Scripture

Lent Quotes – JC Ryle: The Things Which Murder Souls

Lent Quotes: John Owen on daily mortification of the flesh

Lent Quotes: Pope Benedict XVI – Returning to the Lord “with all your heart”

Lent Quotes: David Fischler – Lent is really NOT about self-examination

Lent Quotes: Dean Robert Munday – What Lent Should Really Be All About

A quote from Pope Benedict XVI – appropriate as we prepare for Lent

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Resources:

Kendall Harmon’s excellent Ash Wednesday posts

A roundup of Ash Wednesday posts

Recommended Blogs and Links for Lent 2013

 

 


Scotty Smith’s Ash Wednesday Prayer: “Over these next forty days give us an insatiable hunger for yourself”

February 14, 2013

I was not able to post this yesterday, but even though it was written for Ash Wednesday, I think it makes a good reminder as we look ahead to the rest of Lent. May God give us grace this Lent not to focus on whatever we may be giving up, but to focus on “getting more of Jesus,” living and delighting more in His grace and beauty. I add my very hearty Amen to what Pastor Scotty Smith has written and prayed!

A Prayer for Ash Wednesday and a Grace-full Lent

And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.” Mark 2:19-20

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:17-19

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. For the next forty days we have the privilege of surveying your cross and acknowledging our need. For your glory and our growth, we ask you to inundate us with fresh grace in the coming weeks.

Indeed, we don’t want an ordinary Lenten season, Jesus. Melt us in your mercies; overwhelm us with your love; astonish us with your kindness, for your it’s your kindness that leads us to repentance. It’s all about you, Lord Jesus. It is all about what you’ve done for us, not what we promise to do for you. It’s not about beating ourselves up, it’s about lifting you up. Our deepest conviction of sin comes from the clearest sighting of your beauty.

That’s why we begin Lent today anticipating our wedding, not our funeral; for you are the loving bridegroom who died to make us your cherished bride. The work’s already done; the dowry has been paid in full; the wedding dress of your righteousness is already ours; the invitations have been sent out; the date has been secured; you’ll not change your mind about us! We are much more beloved than we are broken. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Over these next forty days give us an insatiable hunger for yourself; reveal new dimensions of your love; intensify our longing for the Day of your return—the Day of consummate joy—the wedding feast of the Lamb.

In light of that banquet, we choose to deny ourselves (fast from) certain pleasures for this brief season; but we’re not looking to get one thing from you, Jesus—just more of you. Fill our hearts with your beauty and bounty. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.

From Heavenward

P.S.  And even if the good Anglicans among us blanch a little bit at Pastor Scotty’s triple “Hallelujah” in the prayer above (horrors!  on Ash Wednesday!!  grin….) I pray that we would be so refreshed in the joy of the Lord this Lent that the Hallelujahs for God’s LAVISH grace, mercy and promises would well up and flood our hearts, even if they remain unspoken on our lips.  May we have a torrent of Hallelujahs (or Alleluias!) to release on Easter morn.


A Musical Prayer for an Ash Wednesday Evening

February 13, 2013

*Music links updated 2014*

It’s been a busy and hectic day.  Not how I’d planned to spend Ash Wednesday.  I want to quiet my heart and seek the Lord in prayer and His Word, inviting Him to examine my heart, but it’s hard to push aside all the whirling thoughts.

I decided some music might be helpful. In thinking about what to listen to, I remembered a CCM “oldie” by John Michael and Terry Talbot from their 1980 album, The Painter.

Create in me a clean heart, O Godclean heart

Let me be like You in all Your ways

Give me Your strength, teach me Your  song

Shelter me in the shadow of Your wings.

For we are Your righteousness,

if we’ve died to ourselves,

and live through Your death.

Then we shall be born again to be blessed in Your love.

Simple, beautiful harmonies, and very helpful to draw me into the Lord’s presence with a quiet heart.

You can also listen to this song at You Tube, here.  (Available to buy at iTunes)

art credit:  http://godcreatedlaughter.blogspot.com


“The Lenten Call” – a poem by Teresa Roberts Johnson

February 13, 2013

This lovely poem for the beginning of Lent was posted today at Angliverse

The Lenten Call

And now resounding through the turbid earth
The solemn call to keep a holy Lent
Would lift our eyes from things of little worth
And bid us find in Jesus true content.

As Spirit hovered over formless void
Dispelling chaos by the Word decreed,
He clears the wilderness that sin destroyed;
He fills our emptiness with all we ever need.

Beauty for ashes and love to conquer fear,
The disciplines of Lent teach us to comprehend
That all else fades when Jesus is what we hold dear.
We throw off worldly weights in order to ascend.

Copyright © 2013 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

See also Teresa’s poem “For Ash Wednesday

 


Kendall Harmon’s excellent Ash Wednesday posts

February 13, 2013

I have little time for blogging today.  An unexpected work demand plus a car accident (no one hurt thankfully…) have stolen away my entire morning…  so instead of posting some entries of my own for Ash Wednesday, let me just point you to some excellent materials that Kendall Harmon has posted at TitusOneNine.

A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

Food for Thought from Saint Augustine for Ash Wednesday

C.S. Lewis for Ash Wednesday

Notable and Quotable: Dietrich Bonhoeffer for Ash Wednesday

Three Meditations for Ash Wednesday from Bishop Mark Lawrence (from 2012)

Ash Wednesday Services Being Broadcast Online Today

 

Here is the link for all of Kendall’s Lent posts.

 


Ash Wednesday: A favorite prayer from St. Augustine

February 13, 2013

I’ve posted this prayer in the past, but I find that once again it expresses what I need to tell the Lord about my heart as we begin Lent.  My soul needs housecleaning.  My heart needs enlarging that I may receive and share the Lord’s love and grace more fully:

O Lord,
The house of my soul is narrow;
enlarge it that you may enter in.
It is ruinous, O repair it!
It displeases Your sight.
I confess it, I know.
But who shall cleanse it,
to whom shall I cry but to you?
Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord,
and spare Your servant from strange sins.

–St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430)
Source: Churchyear.net

For the traditional Ash Wednesday Prayers from the 1928 BCP, see here.

Here’s the link For all Lent-themed prayers posted here at Lent & Beyond over the years.

For Daily Lenten Prayers and Readings, this is a very good site.


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