Suffering the common theme in British Lenten books

Published March 1, 2000

THESE TWO Lent books from Britain have contrasting forms: one thoughtful analysis, the other a devotional journey. While they address a variety of themes, they have one in common – suffering. [pullquote]

Strange Design is the Archbishop of Wales’ Lent book, with foreword by the new archbishop himself, Rowan Williams. It addresses the question “Is God in control of the world? How?” The author explores issues like the reality of suffering, the effectiveness of prayer, and the possibility of miracle. The chapter on “accidents of history” is fascinating. Each of the seven chapters ends with discussion questions. With millennium-related apocalyptic guesswork in mind, the author says the second coming “stands for the truth that one day everything will be subject to the just and gentle rule of Christ.”

Days of Grace offers meditations for each day of Lent – Sunday, of course, is excluded as not being part of the 40 days – around the biblical imagery of journeys, mountains, light, food, healing. Each devotion has Scripture passage, commentary, meditation, reflections and prayers and quotations from spiritual writers. The Holy Week section centring on the passion of Jesus is especially powerful. A helpful feature is the pithy “thought for the day” – almost like a Sunday school memory verse – at the end of each daily meditation.


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