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God for Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter Hardcover – December 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Paraclete Press (December 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612613799
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612613796
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A portmanteau collection of Lenten observations, garnished with paintings, by a variety of North American writers; it can in turn challenge, move, console: an impressive compilation.The Tablet
February 2014


Enhanced throughout with beautifully reproduced, full color artwork, God for Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter, is an impressive compilation of Christian meditations and prayers for Lent through Easter and is as inspired and inspiring, as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Simply stated, God for Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter, is very highly recommended for personal, family, church, community, and academic library Christian Studies collections and supplemental reading lists. Julie Summers, The Midwest Book Review
February 2014


The Bright-Sadness of LentGod for Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easteris a superb new aid for those seeking the "bright-sadness" of Lent. From the outset, the sobriety of Lent and the joy of Easter are held together, with the former always pointing toward the latter. Ronald Rolheiser writes in the introduction:Seasons of play are sweeter when they follow seasons of work, seasons of consummation are heightened by seasons of longing, and seasons of intimacy grow out of seasons of solitude. Presence depends upon absence, intimacy upon solitude, play upon work. In liturgical terms, we fast before we feast.(xi)To help you in your fasting, the book is, at its simplest, a collection of daily meditations, each tied to lectionary-style readings and accompanied by a prayer. Absolutely gorgeous art (some sacred, some not) accompanies each reading, and histories of the feasts and fasts of Lent help newcomers appreciate the historical richness of the Lenten season.Each of these elements pulls readers into the beauty of time. Daily we read and meditate on the Word of God. Yearly we celebrate feasts and fasts, establishing the sacred rhythm of the church calendar and of our lives. And for centuries we as Christians have celebrated and memorialized our faith through art and prayer and poetry and song. The reading experience of God for Us is a rich one, full of good words, vivid colors, and an inviting faith.Each week's meditations are written by a different author, and Richard Rohr's writings during the first week are the perfect lens to focus your Lenten devotional practices. As a Franciscan priest and the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, Rohr combines elements of mysticism with calls to action. "Jesus's very first words in the Gospels are a call to change," he writes, championing first and foremost, a fast from prejudice, oppression, exclusion, and ego. The lectionary reading from Isaiah 58 - in which God's desired "fasting" includes freeing the oppressed, feeding the hungry and reconciling with family - is present throughout Rohr's meditations and keeps reader's attention ever on the end of Lent. Though Rohr begins the theme, perhaps it is Beth Bevis, writing about the history of the second Sunday of Lent, who best summarizes how Lent leads us on to something outside of itself. "Lent is best understood as a time not of denial for its own sake, but for redirecting our desires toward that which nourishes us both spiritually and physically, preparing us for fuller communion with God and each other, " she writes (49).Also notable are Scott Cairn's essays, which bring with them the ancient and beautiful and intensely physical perspective of the Orthodox Church. His reflections focus on sin and death, as proper Lenten devotions should, but always with an eye toward the eternal. "We may find ourselves moving through the darkness," he writes, "but our paths are, even so, illuminated by his light" (83). Perhaps more than any of the other writers Cairns draws out the penitential aspect of Lent. Fasting has always been a sign of broknness and repentance, and Cairns promotes this state as good and even necessary, since "the ache of repentence...is the beginning of healing" (73). Rounding out the distinguished authors of God for Us are author Kathleen Norris, professor and novelist James Schaap, poet Luci Shaw, and Episcopal priest Lauren F. Winner. With Greg Pennoyer's preface, Ronald Rolheiser's introduction, and the histories of feasts and fasts written by Beth Bevis, the list of distinguished contributors grows longer. In short, the books is quietly ecumenical but never compromising in its depth. The words, the art, even the craftsmanship- from the two ribbon bookmarks to the Lenten purple color scheme- are all beautiful, intentional and profound. The book is meant to last you through years of Lenten seasons. God for Us is the perfect guide during this sacred time; it will nurture you during this fast and prepare you for the feast to come. Erin Zoutendam, Englewood Review of Books

Book Description

God for Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter explores the meaning of Lent, its importance in spiritual formation, its significance in the preparation of Easter, and the holy season of Easter itself. With reflections from leading spiritual writers in North America, histories of the liturgical calendar and the feast days of the holy season, and art that spans over 1500 years of artistic endeavor, God For Us provides a rich resource for renewing meaning in a season that is at best neglected or misunderstood.
 

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More About the Author

Scott Cairns is the author of seven collections of poetry, The Theology of Doubt, The Translation of Babel, Figures for the Ghost, Recovered Body, Philokalia, Compass of Affection: Poems New & Selected, and Idiot Psalms. With W. Scott Olsen, he co-edited The Sacred Place, a collection of prose and verse celebrating the intersections of landscape and ideas of the holy. He wrote the libretti for The Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp, an oratorio composed by JAC Redford, and A Melancholy Beauty, an oratorio composed by Georgi Andreev. His poetry and essays have been included in Best Spiritual Writing, Best American Spiritual Writing, The Pushcart Prize XXVI, Upholding Mystery (Oxford, 1997), The Best of Prairie Schooner, and Shadow & Light, among other anthologies. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Paris Review, The New Republic, Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion, Spiritus, Tiferet, Western Humanities Review, and many other journals. He has taught American literature, poetry writing, and poetics courses at Westminster College, University of North Texas, Old Dominion University, and at University of Missouri, where he is currently Professor of English. In 1993, he founded the Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, and served as its series editor from 1993 through 2006. In 2007, his spiritual memoir, Short Trip to the Edge, was published by HarperSanFrancisco and his translations and adaptations, Love's Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life, was published by Paraclete Press; the paperback edition, Endless Life, was recently released. With Jeff Johnson and Roy Salmond, he recorded, Parable, a CD of recent poems. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, and was named the Catherine Paine Middlebush Chair in English at the University of Missouri in 2009. He received the Denise Levertov Award in 2014.

Customer Reviews

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I have the Advent/Christmas one as well.
Valerie E. Hess
I very much look forward to reading it every day.
Sugar Bear
It is a real inspiration for the Lenten season.
Martine Littlefield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sheep23 on January 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
God for Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter Edited by Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe

God for Us is a wonderful collection of essays on the meaning of Lent and Easter written by a great host of writers, including writers, priests, a poet, and professors. The book is stunningly enhanced by incorporating famous works of art throughout the chapters as a way of illuminating the message or theme of the piece. Each reading includes a few Scripture readings, identification of the day of the church calendar, a short explanation, prayer, and work of art depicting that chapter. Whether you worship in a church with high or low liturgy, this book will expand your appreciation for the Lenten and Eastern season which mirror the life of Christ.

The powerful reminder coming through in this book was the fact that we are all on a journey. Commenting on Shrove Tuesday and Lent, Richard Rohr writes, “Lent is intended to lead us into an always hidden future and an always greater opportunity, and it is in truth – a future created by God – but still unknown to us. We now enter Lent with a new and open horizon, ready to both expect and work for God’s ever new springtime.” (6) There is a combination of feasting and fasting that is part of the Lenten season that connects with this hidden future. We don’t know the exact outcome of the future but we work for the Lord with an expectant spirit knowing that He is good and has our good in mind. The dual nature of letting go of the things that hinder our worship and taking on the practices that draw us near to God remind us that change is possible, even in the time being.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By James R. V. Matichuk on January 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover
he past couple of years my Lenten practice has been enriched by books from Paraclete Press. Two years ago I prayed the daily offices from the Prayer Book of the Early Christians through Lent. Last year my wife and I read Seeking His Mind: 40 Meetings With Christ by M. Basil Pennington as part of our evening devotions.I was on the hunt for a good reader for Lent this year and was excited by Paraclete’s latest offering, God For Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter. I am highly impressed and excited about this! I have read God With Us, the companion volume to this book which explores the meaning of Advent and Christmas. So I had some inkling of what to expect when I opened the book.

However, I was ill-prepared for how beautiful this book is. It is a hardcover book with ribbon bookmarks. Inside, it has inside a stunning collection of art work. Icons, religious art, landscapes, and still life which deepen our experience of Jesus life, death and resurrection. The art is well chosen to illustrate the readings, they are not just pretty pictures. I counted over a hundred paintings, in a variety of styles but mostly from the Western European tradition.

God For Us is edited by Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe (of Image Journal). Pennoyer and Wolfe have assembled an impressive list of of Christian writers and poets which include the likes of Richard Rohr, Lauren Winner, Scott Cairns, James Schaap, Luci Shaw, and Kathleen Norris. There is a preface from Greg Pennoyer and an introduction by Ronald Rolheiser, OMI. Beth Bevis opens the volume with a section on the history of Lent and has fourteen other articles which punctuate the text. These authors share a commitment to Christ and they are all great writers (five of which are personal favorites).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Doug on December 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like its companion volume, God with us, these two facilitate fulfilling a desire to cultivate personal depth during the two particularly intense times of every year, Christmas and Easter. Wonderful concept well offered and completed if I use it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Borden VINE VOICE on February 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Paraclete Press has done it again! God For Us is another heirloom quality devotional written, crafted, and printed in the same beautiful spirit as God With Us.

God For Us is as its subtitle suggests, a devotional focused on the Liturgical season of Lent and Easter. Paraclete Press with Editors Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe have gathered together some of the most well respected Christian writers (Beth Bevis, Scott Cairns, Kathleen Norris, James Schaap, Luci Shaw, Richard Rohr, Ronald Rolheiser, and Lauren F. Winner) from the modern day and assembled their writings into a theme that helps us draw closer to God with our reflections upon this most holy Lenten and Easter Season.

As I mentioned earlier, this is truly an heirloom quality book and very sturdy. It is hardbound with glossy, heavy gauge paper. Paraclete Press has also thoughtfully included a couple ribbon markers for place keeping. The book could easily stand on the devotional writing alone, but the inclusion of Christian art spanning 1500 years makes this work truly rise above other seasonal devotional books.

Another feature of this style of devotional writing (perhaps it would be better to refer to this book as part of a series) is the all-in-one approach to teaching and practice. The book appeals to many different learning styles as it incorporates history, art, poetry, prayers, liturgy, and Scripture to hopefully engage as many of the senses as the reader allows engaging.

The flow of the book follows the Lenten-Easter season in full, beginning with Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, proceeding through the Lenten Calendar, landing on Palm Sunday, entering Holy Week, the Holy Tridium (Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter/Pascha), completion of the journey on Easter Sunday.
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