L is for Last Supper and Lent

My posts for the A to Z Challenge this year are all about the Easter Story, recorded in 4 books of the New Testament: the Gospels. Image in sidebar links to Theme Reveal post.

Image in sidebar or below post links to Theme reveal

The Last Supper is the name given to the Passover meal, which was celebrated the night before Jesus died. It was the last meal he shared with his disciples before his death (Letter D). It has appeared in the posts for Letter B and Letter E. Mark 14:12-26, Matthew 26:17-30 and Luke 22:7-23

Lent is the period of forty days plus Sundays (which don’t count) before Easter Day. It begins on Ash Wednesday. During Lent Christians remember the time Jesus spent in the wilderness being tempted for forty days. Luke 4:1-13

Traditionally people gave up something during Lent – perhaps sugar in drinks, biscuits, chocolate, alcohol, swearing (!) or some kind of entertainment. If any money saved could be given to charity that was useful.

Nowadays there is more emphasis on doing something extra during Lent. Perhaps attending a course or extra services at church or doing something for other people such as the 40 Acts scheme. If people do give something up it is as likely to be spending too much time on social media or playing computer games as any of the traditional things.

During Jesus time in the wilderness he faced temptations to do things, which would have been unhelpful to his purpose in coming to earth as a man. At the end of his time there Angels (Letter A) attended (helped) him. Matthew 4:1-11

My Theme Reveal contains links to the Easter story in the New Testament.

What I read in April 2019 (Part 1)

The first two books I finished reading in April are reviewed here.

Sacristy Press sent me Living Prayer: Learning to Pray in Daily Life by John Davey as a Twitter giveaway. This is a slim volume. The expression ‘it does what it says on the tin’ comes to mind for this book. It took me a few weeks to work my way through it slowly. It is the sort of book to keep at the side of one’s bed and pick up from time to time. It is a good introduction to prayer.

Having recently read Evelyn Underhill’s Prayer Book with its copious superscripts and notes, the plain text including Psalms without verse numbers was a complete contrast. I failed to find any information about the author anywhere in the book or its cover, beyond what he revealed in the preface. What seems important is the content of the book rather than the person writing it. In this age of celebrity that is counter-cultural. So is Christianity.

One prayer made me wonder whether the author was a Roman Catholic. (The prayers from Common Worship suggest he is an Anglican.) I do not know any other Protestants, who address Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ in their prayers. However, I do know some, who would object to the book for the sake of a single prayer. Personally, I’d thank God for Mary’s obedience rather than address her directly. (I have no formal qualifications in theology.)

New Life: Reflections for Lent edited by Amy Robinson and Wendy H. Jones

This book was published shortly before Lent 2018, but I failed to obtain a copy until later. I bought it at a writers’ conference. The book is the first one published by the Association of Christian Writers (ACW), whose members contributed the daily readings. It consists of a Bible reference for each day of Lent (marked in a way that does not tie the book to a particular year) followed by a piece of writing inspired by the passage from scripture. There are introductions to each week’s readings. The writing is varied and imaginative. The book is available from Amazon. I read it during Lent 2019, but raced ahead at the end as I was not prepared to carry it on a journey and wanted to finish it by Easter.

I took the book to the prayer group twice to share some of the writing with the ladies there. They were very favourably impressed with the pieces I read out.

Although it is a Lent book, in the introduction Angela Hobday aka Annie Try (the chairman of ACW) points out that there is enough material to mull over during the entire year. There is a foreword by Adrian Plass, the president of ACW.

It is book to revisit.

(I reviewed the second book from ACW here.)

Easter Sunday

This post comes towards the end of the A to Z Challenge. Yesterday was the Letter R; tomorrow will be Letter S.

Both these letters appear in the word Easter. They also are required for the word Risen. On Easter Day Christians traditionally greet one another with the words, Christ is risen. The reply is, He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

During Lent (the weeks preceding Easter) Alleluia is rarely heard. On Easter Day God is praised with alleluias.

Have you watched the film, Risen?

Easter is a movable feast. That means that it does not have a fixed date like Christmas does. Instead it is calculated from the phases of the moon. Western and Eastern Christians do not agree on the date. Easter in the West coincides with Passover this year. (Does it always?) The first Easter occurred at Passover. On Palm Sunday I had to read the words of the chief priest in a dramatised reading. “We must not do it during the festival or the people will riot.”

They were plotting to have Jesus Christ, the Son of God put to death by crucifixion. This happened on a Friday. It is remembered on Good Friday. On the third day Jesus rose from the dead. That is what is celebrated on Easter Sunday and throughout the Easter season. Jesus had predicted that this would happen, but his disciples had been unable to understand. I am quoting below from my earlier post on this subject: Easter Day

If you are celebrating Easter, I wish you a joyful Eastertide. If you are unfamiliar with the Easter story, it can be read on the Bible Gateway website. The story is told in each of the Gospels: Matthew 27:32-28:15Mark 15:21-16:8Luke 23:26-24:50  and John 19:16-20:30  If you are reading it for the first time, what do you think?

I pray that you will encounter the risen Lord and know the peace and joy which He offers to those who put their trust in Him.