I’m very happy to announce that Come Back to Jesus, our free Lenten devotional, is now available for download! This lower-resolution version (1 MB) should work well for tablets and smaller devices; if you’d like to print a hard copy, you can download a higher-res option (31 MB) from Scribd.
My Pietist Option co-author Mark Pattie and I each contributed two pieces to the collection; otherwise, it’s written entirely by our readers: some of them people we know well; some we’ve never met; all interested in revisiting themes of our book by way of the spiritual disciplines of study and prayer.
In my part of the world, Lent starts in the end of winter and concludes in the beginning of spring. In Minnesota, that’s a messy transition. Gray tundra doesn’t just burst into green grass and yellow daffodils. The thaw is sloppy: mucky ground, slushy roads. The thaw is frustrating: no sooner have we traded parkas for jackets than we get a sudden reminder that March is one of our snowiest months; just as we dare to plot our gardens, a cold front swoops down from Canada.
If we’re not careful, that’s how we’ll start to think of our Lenten journey: two dismaying steps back for every tentative step forward through the messiness of our mortality.
But in the midst of it all, there is new life. Brush away late March snow in our yard, push back the leaves I forgot to rake in October, and you’ll find hints of hosta just starting to shoot up from the earth.
All that came to mind when I first saw the cover of The Pietist Option, the book I wrote last year with Mark Pattie. Someone at InterVarsity Press had the brilliant idea of rendering the title as branches in spring: a bud or two, here and there, just starting to turn into green leaves.
It’s a subtly powerful image of the renewal we sought to inspire in the Church, through a fresh encounter with Pietism’s “distinctively hopeful way of coming back to Jesus: growing to be more and more like him, living at peace as part of his body, and fulfilling his mission in service to others.”
When better to “come back to Jesus” than during the Christian season of repentance, when we turn from our sin toward our Savior?
Contributors occasionally quote our book, but the devotional isn’t written under the assumption that all its readers will be familiar with The Pietist Option. (Of course, if you like the devotional, you’ll probably enjoy the book even more.)
Come Back to Jesus is entirely free and available to share via a Creative Commons license. All we’d ask is that you consider recommending it to others, whether for personal use, small groups, or as a congregation. And especially if you use it for that third purpose, please do drop me a line to let me know how it went.