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.


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