A while ago I was sent a book to review, and I tossed it in the pile to look at later. It’s called 40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chole, and is a 40-day devotional, of sorts, that looks at the tradition of lent and the idea of fasting in general. I don’t attend a church that strictly observes lent, so it really slipped my mind until I saw a post of someone with ashes on their forehead on Instagram.
Lent. Did I want to give something up this year? Who invented this, anyway? I decided to pick this book up and start it today, and I am captivated with day one.
She explores the reasons behind fasting, or sacrificing something during lent. What is the purpose?
… can such polite fasts alone truly prepare us to be awed by Christ’s resurrection?
She argues that God is more interested in the surrender of our souls than the surrender of our favorite Netflix show, and that “decrease is holy only when the destination is love.”
Each day focuses on a short passage from the time leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection, and then offers space to journal your thoughts about the passage. Today’s passage was John 12:1-11, and is the story of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive, sacred oil (clearly it must have been Young Living). I read the passage in the message version, and was shocked at the new things that stood out to me.
This took place AFTER Lazarus has been resurrected. Of all the minute details the gospel writers included, why was there no account of the experience of death? Lazarus could have told us exactly what to expect, yet the only thing that is chronicled that he told people was about Jesus, and their need for a savior. He shared Jesus with so many people the pharisees plotted to kill him, and probably did at some point. If I were alive in that time, would I be a big enough threat for the kingdom of God that the pharisees would plot my death?
I cannot wait to follow this book through the season of lent. It is well-written and intellectual, but still an easy read. I know I am a little late in posting, but I would love to share this experience with others. If you want to join in and do this lenten devotional, it’s available on Kindle. Purchase a copy and let me know you are reading through it as well, and I will start a Facebook group so we can all participate!
*this book was given to me in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.