Archives For Christian Year


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A Feature Review of

Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets For the Christian Year
Malcolm Guite

Paperback: Canterbury, 2012
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Philip Zoutendam


We are “tangled in time” says the first line in Sounding the Seasons. The remainder of the book, a sonnet sequence for the Christian year, is Malcolm Guite’s way of untangling us, untangling us by plunging into time. As Guite “sounds the seasons” aurally with the music of each poem, he also sounds—that is, fathoms—their meaning. His reader is immersed in a particular moment in time, but because that moment is isolated, meditated on, it is elevated out of time.

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Many Christians in evangelical (or post-evangelical) churches do not realize that the Church has traditionally celebrated Easter, not just as a one day holiday but as a season that stretches from Easter Sunday to Pentecost.  The season of Easter presents a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus.   We’ve selected several recent books on these themes for you to consider during this Easter season.

Recommended Reading for the Easter Season:

829559: Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up In  Christ Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up In ChristBy Eugene H. Peterson / Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

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The fifth and final book in Peterson’s best-selling Conversations in Spiritual Theology, discusses Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, urging readers make Christian character to the centerpiece of their lives. New birth in Christ is essential, notes Peterson, yet the American church does not treat Christian growth and the formation of character with equivalent urgency. Practice Resurrection strikes at the heart of healthy Christian formation by using the voice of Scripture to guide us into the fullness of Christian maturity.

697013: Revisiting the Empty Tomb: The Early History of Easter Revisiting the Empty Tomb: The Early History of EasterBy Daniel A. Smith / Fortress Press

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What do the Gospels and Paul’s letters actually say about Jesus’ resurrection? How should we understand the meaning of the empty tomb? What do Jesus’ encounters with his disciples after his death suggest? How is his disappearance linked to his future role? A careful, nuanced synthesis of this vital, perplexing topic. 192 pages, hardcover. Fortress.

838486: The Challenge of Easter The Challenge of EasterBy N.T. Wright / IVP Books


Lost among the colored eggs and chocolate candies is Easter’s bold, almost unbelievable claim: Jesus has risen from the dead, and now everything is different.

Bestselling author N.T. Wright looks at Easter in its earliest context, where a band of followers discovered the fulfillment of all the promises God had made to their people over the centuries. The announcement of a new era unsettled their friends and scandalized their oppressors. That era extends to our day, where to celebrate Easter is to live as though God is among us, making everything new.

825332: We Believe in the Crucified and Risen Lord We Believe in the Crucified and Risen LordBy Mark J. Edwards, ed. / IVP Academic

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This commentary offers unique access to the doctrines and beliefs of the church’s earliest theologians. As such, it provides a rare tool for scholars and laypersons-immediate access to the relevant writing on a specific topic in the Church Fathers. Taking its title from the Nicene Creed, this volume, We believe in the Crucified and Risen Lord, covers primary source treatments of the doctrine of the person and work of Jesus Christ. The commentary follows the creed phrase for phrase, as gives extensive commentary on each phrase from a diverse group of early Christians ranging from Justin Martyr to Gregory of Nazianzus, and from such well known authors as Augustine, to the very obscure such as Arnobius of Sicca.


The Season of Lent is a time on the Church’s Calendar when we through prayer and fasting reflect upon our desires and submit ourselves to the transforming power of God.

Here are six recent books — one for each week of Lent — that reflect the Lenten spirit or that challenge us to take a deeper look at the seasons of the Christian year.

(Ancient Practices Series)

by Scot McKnight.
Thomas Nelson, 2009.
[ Our Review ] [ Buy the Book ]


Seasons of Celebration:
Meditations on the Cycle of Liturgical Feasts
By Thomas Merton.
Ave Maria Press, 2009.
[ Our Review ] [ Buy the Book ]

Being Consumed:
Economics and Christian Desire

by Bill Cavanuagh.
Eerdmans, 2008.
[ Our Review ] [ Buy the Book ]


The Liturgical Year
(Ancient Practices Series)

By Joan Chittister
Thomas Nelson, 2009.
[ Our Review ] [ Buy the Book ]

Enough: Contentment in An Age of Excess.
By Will Samson.
David C. Cook, 2009.

[ Our Review ] [ Buy the Book ]
Living the Christian Year:
Time to Inhabit the Story of God
By Bobby Gross.
IVP Books, 2007.
[ Our Review ] [ Buy the Book ]



Living the Christian Year:
Time to Inhabit the Story of God.
Bobby Gross.

Paperback: IVP Books, 2007.
Buy now:  [ ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

As tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Church’s season of Lent, my mind turns again to the calendar of the Church year and my own struggles to submit my life to be formed by the calendar of Church and not the secular, consumerist calendars of mainstream culture.  I know in my head that the way in which we mark time is a function of the primary stories that give meaning to our lives, and yet it never seems to work out so simply in my own life or that of our church community.  As I was reflecting on these struggles, I encountered Bobby Gross’s recent book Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God (IVP Books 2007).  Gross’s book is a grace-full introduction to the church calendar, particular for people like the author and myself, who did not grow up with any sense of time marked in remembrance of God’s story of redemption.  After introducing the book by telling a little bit of his own story of struggling to submit to the church calendar, Gross steps season-by-season through the church’s calendar, introducing each of the seasons and then going week-by-week through each season offering prayers that challenge us to submit ourselves to the story of God’s redemptive work, as well as brief but thought-provoking reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary passages for that week.

Maybe your church already has practices in place that point people in the direction of the church calendar, but for those churches out there, who don’t, or who are only beginning to re-encounter the seasons of the Church year, Bobby Gross’s Living The Christian Year is a great resource to be read and discussed in your church community. To get a flavor of this wonderful book, you can enjoy the following excerpts that IVP has posted on Google Books:

[ Click Here for the excerpt of LIVING THE CHRISTIAN YEAR ]