Reflections for Lent – 16 April 2022
Author Rowan Williams, Philip North and others
Publisher CHP £4.99
This slim book will prove a fine companion for the discipline and rhythm of daily Morning Prayer during Lent 2022. Its value is principally in the sustained high quality of the individual thoughts of the experienced, wise church leaders who have contributed. Their writing is uniformly superb. There is an outstanding introduction from Mark Oakley who has provided a written sermon – ideal for Ash Wednesday – entitled: ‘Lent – justifying within the self’. He uses the Renaissance painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, ‘The fight between carnival and Lent’ to illustrate how many Christians experience the tension and paradox of impulses during Lent – a constant battle between holy desire and worldly influences.
The core content of the book comprises (Monday-Saturday) daily reflections from Bishops Philip North, Rachel Treweeke, Christopher Herbert, and Canon Angela Tilby. Most of their reflections relate to the Old Testament daily lessons, which this year are dominated by the later chapters of Genesis and the early chapters of Exodus. And so, we journey through Lent with Joseph and his brothers, and later Moses and Aaron and their people. Collectively these reflections provide a helpful theological guide to that long transitional period when the chosen people of God sojourned in Egypt. The climax of the book, however, comes from the contributions by Rowan Williams, who takes us through the spiritual perplexities of Holy Week. He has given succinct but powerful original thoughts which show that the spiritual wisdom of our former Archbishop is undiminished in retirement.
Finally, the book also contains helpful advice on how to build daily prayer into our lives from Rachel Treweeke; and a guide to Lectio Divina from Archbishop Stephen Cottrell. This book is warmly recommended. Although slightly expensive for its size, it is full of gems from a series of fine authors.
Reviewed by ELIZABETH HOGG