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40 days

lenten reflections & a daily reading plan through the gospel of John

 John G. Mason · www.christchurchnyc.com

Lent forms an important part of the Christian church’s traditional calendar. While the prospect of spring turns long winter nights into the delights of extended days, budding with new life, the Lenten season stands in stark contrast. Lent is often a time of going without (fasting—as Jesus himself fasted forty days in the desert), enabling us to be more focused on our life with God and our ultimate dependence upon him. And it can also be a very good time to reflect on what God has done in bringing us from the winter of life without him to the new life he holds out to us through the events of the first Good Friday and Easter. The Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday and continues through to the Saturday before Easter – this year from Wednesday, February 22 until Saturday, April 7.

Each day of Lent, you will find a selected text from the Gospel of John, paired with a reflection. Alongside the readings and reflections, there is a prayer, one of the collects (in Anglican terms, a short prayer that collects the ideas of the day; stressed on the first syllable: kol′·ekt) adapted from the English 1662 Book of Common Prayer. I’ve also suggested a daily reading plan from the Gospel of John, which will take you through the whole book by Easter.

While reading the last page of a book before you get there is not something I would generally encourage, let me make an exception. Because the daily readings are selections, it is helpful to know what St. John the Apostle had in mind when he wrote his Gospel. He sets out his purpose in chapter 20:31: These things are written so that you may know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. Keep this in mind as you read.

You might also find it useful to begin each time of reading and reflection with a prayer. Often I use the words of Psalm 119:18:

Lord, open my eyes that I might behold wondrous things out of your Word.*

Acknowledgment  I am grateful to Chelsea Miller, my Research and Communication Associate, for her helpful suggestions along the way and for posting these reflections each day.

Blog Header  Countenance Azurite (2005), created by Makoto Fujimura

*literally, law

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