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

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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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


In a follow up to their well-received 2007 collection, God with Us, which focused on Advent and Christmas, this new devotional volume from Pennoyer and Wolfe is absolutely top-notch in every way. Beginning with its heavy glossy pages, sturdy construction, ribbon markers, and full-color artwork, this book is physically and visually stunning. Most importantly, the context within is equally impressive, gathering insights from contributors noted for their writings on spirituality, including Richard Rohr, Scott Cairns, and Kathleen Norris. Among the writers are poets, priests, and professors from diverse Christian backgrounds, making this collection equally accessible to Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox readers.
Each Day from Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday includes suggested Scripture readings, a prayer, a two-page reflection, and two full-color works of art. The art has been thoughtfully selected to match the themes of each day, and includes icons from various periods, as well as works from Munch, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and dozens more, spanning more than a millennium and a half of Christian history. The daily reflections are both spiritually and intellectually rich, primarily meditating on the Scripture passages, but also containing valuable gleanings from art literature, and history. Beth Bevins provides a succinct and insightful historical background to the customs and traditions of fourteen key days, such as Ash Wednesday, the Annunciation, and Good Friday.
Overall, this gorgeous volume is a wonderful way of readers to enrich their devotional lives and expand their appreciation of this powerful, but often misunderstood, liturgical season. Essential for all Catholic (indeed, all Christian) libraries. —Brain T. Sullivan, Catholic Library World

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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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
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover
(Originally Reviewed in 2014--see review below) Top review is for Reader's Edition

The season of Lent starts in a week. If you are hoping to find a good Lent devotional, one of the best on the market is God For Us (Paraclete: 2013). I used it as my primary devotionals a couple of years ago and referred to it throughout the Lenten season last year. The book has a poet or spiritual writer give a week's worth of daily devotions. Contributers include: Scott Cairns, Kathleen Norris, Richard Rohr, Luci Shaw, James Schaap and Lauren Winner. Beth Bevis's historical articles on the celebration of Lent and various feast days punctuate the text Ronald Rolheiser, OMI writes the introduction and all of this was assembled under Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe's (both of Image Journal) editorial eyes.

For this Lenten season, Paraclete has just released the readers God For Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter - Reader's Edition. The book's text is the same as the previous edition; however the earlier edition was sort of a coffee table book, with glossy pages full of art. The Reader's Edition is a simple paperback with french flaps. While I absolutely loved the beauty of the previous edition, this is somewhat more practical and user friendly. I felt guilty about underlining and making notes in the original edition (I still did it) because it was such a pretty book. The Reader's Edition doesn't contain the art or the glossy pages and is more portable.

However, I did notice one small error unique to this edition. Page 35 of my copy, mistakenly attributes the entry to the late Richard John Neuhaus (I have a review copy, so I may be looking at a proof copy). My guess is that this a typographical error.
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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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