A Brief Review of
Living the Christian Year:
Time to Inhabit the Story of God.
Paperback: IVP Books, 2007.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]
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: