Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New favorite devotional book

How many devotional books are on your shelves?  I don't know how many we have. Many. I've used most of our books at one time or another, but I have a hard time keeping up with daily reading and usually don't last long with any one book. But I have a new favorite.

Isn't the cover gorgeous?

Ancient Christian Devotional (Thomas C. Oden and Cindy Crosby, editors) has a year's worth of  scripture and writings by ancient church fathers. It follows the liturgical year (lectionary cycle A), which always appeals to me, even though - or maybe because - my church doesn't follow it.  There is a book for cycle C; cycle B is forthcoming.  

For each of the 52 weeks of the year, there is a theme ("Humility and Service," "God Keeps Promises"), an opening prayer, Old and New Testament scriptures and short reflections on them, a Psalm, and a closing prayer.   It is designed to be read all in one day, or over the entire week, depending on the reader's desire and time available.

Here is the opening prayer for week 41 with the theme "God's Care," written by Clement of Rome:

We beg you, Master, be our help and strength.  Save those among us who are oppressed, have pity on the lowly, and lift up the fallen.  Heal the sick, bring back the straying, and feed the hungry.  Release those in prison, lift up those who falter, and strengthen the fainthearted.  Let all nations come to know you the one God, with your Son Jesus Christ, and us your people and the sheep of your pasture.  

And a reflection on Ezekiel 18:1-4 and 25-32, by Basil the Great:

Forgiveness Means Healing.  Remember the compassion of God, how he heals with olive oil and wine.  Do not despair of salvation.  Recall the memory of what has been written, how he that falls rises again, and he that is turned away turns again, he that has been smitten is healed, he that is caught by wild beasts escapes, and he that confesses is not rejected.  The Lord does not want the death of the sinner, but that he return and live. Do not be contemptuous like one who has fallen into the depths of sins. 
There are short biographies of the ancient writers for readers like me who are not up on their church history.

The only quibble I have with this book is  that the weeks are dated; week one, for example, is November 27 through December 3.   This disturbs my sense of order; I'd rather the weeks were undated.  But that is a minor problem (and my own).

It really is a wonderful book.  You can read the introduction and week one ("Keep Watch") here.  Check it out, even if you think you have enough devotional books around.  Never hurts to have just one more.


Anonymous said...

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Self Sagacity said...

I believe forgiveness means self healing. I believe before we can forgive, we have to heals our wounds first. Now I understand why my mother never forgives, she want to still be hurt... Thanks for the post.

wayside wanderer said...

Sounds like a good devotional. I am currently reading Seeking the Face of God and the author quotes many of classic Christians which I really like. It is good and meaty.

Sandy said...

It sounds like I would love this. Thanks for posting.