ISBN 9781841015699 (1841015695)
BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship), 2008
The theme of ‘fasting and feasting’ seems perfectly at home in the season of Lent. But Gordon Giles brings a fresh look at what these things might actually mean to us, taking us through the Old and New Testament meanings and challenging us to a deeper understanding of this season which will refresh our discipleship.
Giles begins by rooting Lent in the practice of confession and absolution, pointing out that Shrove Tuesday is less about feasting on pancakes, or even about using up the luxuries of our kitchen cupboards, and more about the meaning of ‘shrive’: Shrove Tuesday, drawn from the word ‘shrive’, literally means to be forgiven. This is the day when we prepare for the fast of Lent, when we present ourselves for absolution, when we turn ourselves to God in repentance. This is an excellent place to start our journey over the following six weeks.
Over the six weeks Giles uses the topic of ‘food’ to draw on a wide variety of themes. From the literal starvation and obesity that plagues our world, through the provision of God, to the spiritual food that must sustain through all things, and which is found in turning to the Lord for all our needs.
It is amazing how ‘food’ is continuously found in Scripture – there is much material there for Giles to draw on. For the majority of the notes, I found the engagement creative and well researched. We are challenged to take responsibility for all sorts of things – having presented ourselves to God at the beginning of the journey through these notes – for the food and drink that enters our bodies, to consumption on a global scale. I found the way that Giles poses these questions helpful, we don’t feel completely helpless in the face of world crisis, but see how our own choices affect the whole.
At the back of the book there are notes that might be used for groups. As I tend to find with these type of notes, these will be helpful for groups where the individual members are able to share openly with each other and are well experienced in doing their own reading and preparation, otherwise there might not be enough material.
As we go through Lent, I hope that you have found notes which grow your relationship with the Lord: I’m sure that these will not disappoint you.
Jody Stowell, March 2009
Jody Stowell is a theology student at Spurgeon’s College, which trains baptists for ministry and mission. She, however, is an Anglican, and soon to begin training for ordained ministry in the Church of England. She is also a self-confessed internet junkie and can be found commenting about most things on her own blog www.radical-evanglical.blogspot.com and on Fulcrum forums, where she is on the leadership team.