Lent

In a letter launching the Diocesan theme – Conversations on the Journey – Bishop Trevor wrote, “I sense that there are many transformative, and perhaps risky, conversations yet waiting to happen in our churches. I want us to encourage these in every way that we can.”

40 Days / 40 Voices: Conversations on the Road to Jerusalem

Rather than producing a traditional-style Lent course in 2017 we have produced a daily devotional called 40 Days / 40 Voices. Each day in Lent a different person from the Diocese will offer their response to a part of the biblical story charting Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem from Luke 9:51 all the way to Luke 23:56. The reflections include words, poems, artwork, photography, music. Each day’s response will take the form of a daily email which will include the scripture for the day and the reflection.

Sign up to receive the 40 Days / 40 Voices daily devotional email here.

Catch up with the days you’ve missed so far:

Lent courses from other providers

We know that many will still want to participate in a more traditional Lent course, either in addition to 40 Days / 40 Voices, or instead of it. To help you choose which Lent course is right for your group we have put together a list of some of the most popular Lent resources here.

Review of Archbishop Justin’s Lent book ‘Dethroning Mammon’

Justin Welby, Bloomsbury, £9.99
As a non-stipendiary priest working as a banking consultant across Europe and beyond, I’m often challenged by friends, parishioners and colleagues alike about the “conflict of interest” between Jesus and Mammon. It is this perceived struggle that Justin Welby writes about in his first full-length book, which is offered as a source of contemplation during Lent.

Dethroning Mammon is not a typical Lent book in that it doesn’t focus on the Passion narratives or have a clear cross-centric focus. It is however divided into six chapters (one a week for group study) that help us explore how the forces of Mammon, the spirituality of giving things economic worth, dominate our lives and need to be reined in and mastered. Welby explores how we value things (economic utilitarian value vs the value God gives us), then specifically how the way we value things controls us, how we hold onto what we value (and why) and how we receive and exercise power in the form of Mammon. The tone then switches for the last two chapters to looking at the anti-Mammon dynamics of giving and discipline over money. All this is communicated with personal stories and engagement with life at Lambeth Palace, particularly the new Community of St. Anselm.

This switch in the dynamic of the book in the last two chapters is similar to that we find in Lent texts like William Vanstone’s “The Stature of Waiting” where Vanstone asks us to reflect on how Jesus switches from activity to passivity as he passes into the Garden of Gethsemane. In a comparable literary dynamic, Welby asks us to spend time contemplating how the power of Mammon controls our actions and then invites us as we approach Calvary to let go of it in the same manner that Christ lets go of his earthly and heavenly power as he approaches his moment of triumph. Welby turns us away from Mammon and towards viewing and valuing the world and the people in it as God does.

If you are looking for a contemplative examination of the Passion then look elsewhere. If, however, you want to explore issues of control, power and value in our modern economies from a Christian perspective, then this would be a perfect resource, not just for Lent but for dipping into afterwards as well. It should also prompt reflection on ways that other spiritualities of power and identity can control and dominate our lives, drawing us away from and not towards Jesus.

Peter Ould

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