lent starts this week. join us on saturday for grace for a lent communion by numbers...
ian adams has produced another amazing resource - 40 temptations. it's a downloadable pdf booklet with 40 reflections which combine poetry, photography and mediation. they are profound, really profound. this booklet began its gestation last year as a series in morning bell which i remember being wowed by at the time. i'm not sure whether temptation is the right word - ian also describes them as taunts, a sort of internal (or external) script that tempts us to be less than we are or can be as humans made in god's likeness.
to give an example one is:
you don't belong here
the naming of these taunts is so powerful. i think we all have this kind of thing going on rumbling below the surface (or sometimes shouting loudly in our minds) to derail or sabotage us. it's quite a daring ask to set yourself or your community to face these down over lent. it's much easier to pretend they are not there to be honest, or at least to keep them hidden in the dark. but i dare you to journey with this resource over the season of lent either alone or with a community you are part of...
this is the third booklet like this that ian has produced - the other two are come and see - on starting a missional community; and give me a drink - on mission. those would also make good study resources for lent.
if you are looking for other ideas for lent have a look at proost news this month which links to a few things.
it was lovely this week to get a few days retreat/silence/space for prayer. i found st clare's portiuncula on the web through the retreats web site. it is hosted by a fransiscan sisters community. the space itself has five rooms (hermitages) with a gorgeous view over the valley. the building is about 10 years old, beautifully designed with a lovely fountain in the centre that symbolises the overflowing of god's love for the world, and a chapel. it also has a peace garden with a gorgeous labyrinth in the chartres design. one morning when i walked this labyrinth it was so frosty that after each step the coldness of the stone left a frosty footprint as you can see in the photo. each day i met with one of the nuns to chat about how i was doing which was also helpful. i mostly tried to be silent and walk and pray and think but i did read chesterton's biography of st francis while i was there which was a good companion. it was a great way to head into lent...
if you are planning ahead for easter have a look at proost's resources for easter. there's some classics there and a few new things.
on the subject of new it's wonderful to have a new artist or two on proost - steve leach (who is also training on the cms pioneer course) has an ep gardens with three electronic tracks responding to the three gardens of eden, gethsemane and paradise.
restless: evening prayer for restless hearts also looks and sounds really beautiful - from tim snyder and aaron strumpel - both also new on proost! the sample track on this page is quite amazing...
i have written a reflection for christine sine as part of her lent series over at godspace on giving space for soulwork. here's an extract...
We are all fractured and wounded, more perhaps than we know or like to admit and it is far easier to keep the front stage shiny and bright rather than risk have a look back stage and God forbid make ourselves vulnerable by allowing others to come and have a look back stage. But this journey towards the brokenness of our inner selves is essential if we are to become more fully who we are, which is our life’s work. We talk about this with students as ‘soulwork’. Lent it seems to me is a season that is a gift to us to do some of this journey, this paying attention and soulwork. see here for full article
no idea exactly what this event entails but union chapel are curating a series of events in the run up to easter. this one caught my eye and it's free. i'll be heading along - spread the word. no need to book either - just turn up. see you there... the blurb says
This is a non-conformist exploration of the senses for Maundy Thursday. An invitation to come and experience a hypnotic spectacle dominated by stroboscopy and industrial and noisetechno frequencies combined with sounds of Union Chapelʼs Henry Willis Organ. This has never been done before!
Light controlled electronics: xname
Organ: Claire M Singer
there are so many resources around for lent now - my advice is to pick one thing and stick with that! if you want to see the things i have linked to over the years i have tagged anything with lent so you can scroll through.
christine sine is prolific in producing resources for both advent and lent. she has a whole range of stuff going on including a new book, lots of blogging and guest bloggers (i will be one), and this 40+ ideas for lent and holy week
we (jenny and i) have janet morley's book with poems for lent to look through at home.
grace are going to be reading through an altar in the world (not especially a lent book but lent is a season for reflecting on what it means to follow christ so will do nicely).
a book i think would be wonderful too is ian adams running over rocks. see beloved life for a whole load of resources around what ian and gail are up to...
make the most of the season anyway!
cms is the community i am a member of. 40 days of yes is another lent resource if you would like something to reflect particularly on mission. i have used it before and i am pretty certain have blogged about it before. but it's another great lent resource and mark berry will be adding a weekly reflection too... oh and it's free!
following oin from my first post about lent resources on proost, we have published another! and it's a first on proost for andy freeman - francis: stories and reflections
This new devotional book comes from Andy's love of St. Francis and includes creative rewritings of the stories of Francis mixed with practical activities, prayers and reflections. There are forty daily devotions in all so it is perfect to accompany Lent but also can be used at any time throughout the year. The book is also accompanied by five original drawings from Andy's daughter Jess.
i always like to have something on the go daily in lent and if you too like that then this fits the bill.
i have neglected to blog about proost here for a while. we have had a bundle of new resources of late. lent has become a really strong season for creativity in worship and spirituality for those on the alternative/emerging end of things. we have gradually built up quite a collection. anyway here's the latest proost news which outlines some resources old and new…
Lent was once described as the "bright sadness". It's a season which embraces every human emotion and every spiritual experience. In this time we learn to hope in pain, to become at peace in turmoil. At Lent we learn to find God in all things. We hope some of the resources available on Proost will help you in this journey.
This month we're launching a wonderful new book by Tim Watson. Old Lost and Broken Dreams is a beautifully moving journey through pain, disappointment and loss through poems, litanies, blessings and prayers. This is a wonderfully inspiring book to help you through Lent as Tim's inspiration is St. John of the Cross' idea of the Dark Night of the Soul - that somehow at our weakest point we learn new maturity in our understanding of God. Tim writes
"And as we journey through life as people of faith we will face all kinds of challenges. Perhaps we will find ourselves feeling like isolated prophets. Perhaps sometimes we will feel like Thomas after the resurrection. Sometimes we will have more questions than answers. Sometimes we will have to wait doggedly for the voice of God or for the leading of the Holy Spirit."
I want to recommend this book to all of you. I found it deeply inspiring as I read the manuscript before publication and I've come back to the poems and prayers again and again since then. I'll be looking to use a poem or prayer each day to help me through Lent. Do take a look.
As well as Tim's new book there are lots of resources in our Lent section of the website. A particularly popular resource is Si Smith's 40 and it's accompanying 40 Book by Si and Chris Goan. These are two inspiring interactions with the story of Jesus in the wilderness with moving words and beautiful illustrations. Each Lent we find loads of people download this resource and love it, coming back to it each year.
Another great resource is Cave by Harry Baker. This is all about seeking God alone and echoes the yearnings and challenges we all find in solitude and isolation. Harry's poetry is incredibly popular and this one is a Proost favourite.
At Lent we often find people seek out Pocket Liturgies on the site to help their community or church travel through the season together. Making Communion from Grace is one of the most popular in this line of Liturgies. Making Communion is the second set of Liturgies from Grace but specifically explores Communion and is packed with creative, innovative approaches to the church's most ancient rite. It also has a long introduction which helpfully shares Grace's story and how they have negotiated a creative approach within the Church of England.
As well as these individual resources you may want to explore the other areas of the website. A Get it Allsubscription is a great way to do this, enabling you to get your hands on everything on the site for one whole year. Why not sign up today?
This is the first of two updates you'll be getting from us this Lent as we have more new resources to launch shortly. Watch this space.
The Proost Team
i love the season of lent - it's a time to prepare for easter, and a time to think about what it means to follow christ.
if you are looking for ideas of something to do to help you in that process here's a few i have noticed
cms has a resource called 40 days of yes - it's free, short and simple and will help you reflect on mission and discipleship. you can download as a pdf or follow each day.
brian draper is running his annual reflections - he is a gifted writer in the area of spirituality
elizabeth sercombe (who i know little about) is doing an online adventure thing - others have enthused to me about her - see more here - you'll have to e-mail her for info
proost has a bundle of resources to use either individually or for a church - search under lent or look at the latest newsletter. they include of course the amazing si smith video 40 that i watch every lent and still love!
mark pierson always sends me a resource printed for lent (and does the same for advent) through the post from new zealand which is extraordinary! you can see and sign up to receive his daily reflections here
at grace we are having weekly meals and conversations with visitors from other communities round london coming and sharing their stories and learning.
if you know of other things or ideas post a comment below. don't be overwhelmed by the different things. by way of advice pick one practice that you might engage in to help you reflect through the season.
grace last night was inspired by john of the cross and invloved an exploration of longing, the veil of the senses, the veil of the spirit and union with god. it felt a bit back to the old school as we draped muslin screens, got slide projectors out and went slightly ott! i have added the outline of it and linked to photos, prayers, stations, movies and so on in the grace web site archive here.
i am adding the whole thing a a worship trick...
[this is part of a series of blog posts on art in holy week - see also
there is so much creativity around at the moment taking art engaging in sme way with the christian story and performing it or letting it loose in public space. i thought i would try and mention one piece/exhibit each day through holy week and see how it goes...
day 1: the lent cross delarosa
so first up is the lent cross put in the middle of the north lanes in brighton by beyond . this is a transparent perpsex cross with small holes through which people can post thoughts on what they could and couldn't live without. each week there is a gathering to share bread and wine. their blog tells how it has been unscrewed, kicked around and smashed but is being put back together. so it's now a cross that rather than being clean and perfect now bears the scars of its mistreatment, a sign of the suffering god on the via delarosa.
if you know of creative art installations and exhibitions please leave a comment...
beyond in brighton have created lent through the lanes - if you are anywhere near brighton go and experience it. collect a headset and the meditations are automatically triggered at the various stations on the journey.
we put a couple of new movies up on proost this month - cave and calavary. cave is a movie exploring the notion of cave as a place to retreat to to be alone with god. It was inspired by ian adams book cave refectory road. the other is called calvary and much more geared for the other end of lent and good friday. it's a photographic piece exploring stations of the cross.
the other weekend when i was in sheffield for resource i met ric who is an artist and methodist minister. he is curating this exhibition wilderness, si smith is taking part and no doubt lots of others. i loved this piece ric is doing children of clay sending out 40 clay figures to be located in and around sheffield for 40 days to see what happens as they interact with the world. his blog has several photos of the children so far...
i think it's a good idea to follow something, one thing to help you reflect during lent. the danger is that we all feel the need to follow too many things and lent just gets busy! so don't feel obliged to follow any of these but they may be of interest...
then lastly but by no means least it was wonderful to bump into gerard and chrissie kelly at cms yesterday who were in for a few meetings from bethanie in france where they have been developing a mission base. gerard's writing has always been brilliant... they are running 40 days of prayershots for europe. you can follow along in twitter...
it was pancakes last night and tonight grace gathers for an ash wednesday service...
i have grown to like the season of lent. it's a time for reflecting on faith and following christ. several members of grace are reading along with maggi dawn's lent book giving it up which i started today. it contains a devotional reflection type thing each day. and if you read the last post you'll see that cms members are using 40 days of yes which i'll also be using (it's going to be long breakfasts i can see).
if you are after resources/ideas for lent i have categorised posts relating to lent over the years so follow the link through to this section
christine sine seemingly gets better and better as a liturgist and seems to particularly love lent and advent. she has posted a couple of lovely pieces. one is a morning and evening prayer that their community are using through lent. this is simple and beautiful. and the second is an ash wednesday prayer that is challenging to pray.
i-church have an online lent program that will be worth visiting each week...
ben norton seems to be on a roll. for lent the bridlington crew are running a project called beach tweets. this is what they say about it
The idea is to allow people to find some time during the 40 days of Lent to reflect on their own journey. During this time a group of people will be taking it in turns to write a reflection in the sand on the south shore beach in Bridlington. These words have been chosen because they have impacted the life of the person sharing them. The reflections will appear in different places and at different times, each day the words will be washed away by the tide reflecting the ebb and flow of our own journeys.
if can't make the beach, follow on twitter
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where i come across creative ideas, liturgies, movies, music tracks, service outlines or anything that strikes me, i add them as worship tricks. i started these in april 2002 when i first began blogging and they have built up over the years so that i am now on the third series. this has proved a pretty popular feature of the blog.