Lent is More Than Madness

After Alcuin easily dismissed Ephrem of Edessa (77% to 23%) in our only Saturday battle of Lent Madness 2014, today is a rest day until Monday's battle between Joseph of Arimathea and Anna Cooper. To help you cope with a day without voting, we encourage you to go to church and share the Good News of Lent Madness with your fellow pew-sitters. Go ahead and print out some brackets and pass them out. Encourage people to fill them in during the sermon. Your priest will love that.

After church, make sure you tune into this week's update from everyone's favorite color commentators, veteran Lent Madness competitors Archbishop John Chrysostom and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. Throughout Lent Madness, they will offer a new video each week. The videos will look back on the contests from the previous week and preview upcoming battles.

Of course, Lent Madness is not the only thing happening during the forty days and forty nights of Lent. The official sponsor of Lent Madness is Forward Movement, and they offer a whole range of publications to nourish your Lenten journey. So if you're looking for something beyond the saintly smackdown, maybe these will help. Since Lent's already started, here are some digital resources that you might enjoy.

If you'd like some daily meditations to go with your daily voting, try Lent is Not Rocket Science: An Exploration of God, Creation, and the Cosmos by W. Nicholas Kinsely. The season of Lent prompts us to ask questions, big and small, about the nature of our being, and about our role in the world. Astronomer, physicist and Episcopal Bishop W. Nicholas Knisely explores the intersection of faith and science, creation and the cosmos. Available on the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and on iTunes.

If that one doesn't strike your fancy, how about Disciples on the Way by Carol Mead? Experience a Lenten journey that will prepare you to walk throughout your life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Carol Mead reflects on discipleship and the season in these daily meditations for the forty days of Lent. Available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and iTunes.

Finally, Good Lord, Deliver Us offers daily reflections for our Lenten journey guided by the heart and vision of thirty-two timeless petitions from Thomas Cranmer's Great Litany. Leonard and Lindsay Freeman offer strength and encouragement for our walk to the cross as they look at the many ways in which deliverance comes to us. Like the Great Litany itself, their reflections speak of human frailty and holy grace, of the longings and aspirations of our human hearts, and of the transformative power of God's abiding love. Available on the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and iTunes.

We won't want to miss the obvious. Forward Day by Day is beloved throughout the Episcopal Church. Chances are you can get a paper copy at your own parish, but it's also available digitally. Each day you'll read a meditation based on the assigned scripture readings. In addition to print, you can get Forward Day by Day as a daily email, an iPhone app, or an ebook. You can also read it on the Forward Movement website for free. Get a daily reminder by following on Facebook or Twitter. By the way, the cover of the current issue features Lent Madness 2012 Golden Halo winner Mary Magdalene.

Last, but not least, for those of you who want something that's not a daily meditation but which might help you through Lent Madness, check this out. Stars in a Dark World: Stories of the Saints and Holy Days of the Liturgy.

Stars in a Dark World illuminates for us those individuals who knew in their hearts the great love of God, who knew how far they were from perfection. They lived courageously, taking steps without knowing what would be accomplished, addressing the complexities of their world with singleness of purpose and understanding, and confronting the struggles of daily life because they were no more and no less. This compelling familiarity and intimacy invites us into the mystery of the gracious God who called the saints to maturity in Christ. -- from the forward by Bishop Richard F. Grein

Stars in a Dark World, by Fr. John-Julian, OJN, is the most comprehensive and detailed collection of the biographies of the saints and background information about the holy days of the Episcopal liturgy available today. This 700-page book is the result of over seven years of research and study, and covers all liturgical commemorations approved for use through 2006. Available for Amazon Kindle,  Barnes & Noble Nook, and iTunes.

We'll see you Monday morning at 8:00 a.m., Eastern time, for the resumption of the Madness.

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