Lenten Devotion::Grace Upon Grace

by Edie Wadsworth on February 20, 2012

Lent begins this week on Ash Wednesday and I want to invite you to go on a Lenten journey with me. I’ll be reading the book Grace Upon Grace by John Kleinig and posting once a week about the reading. The book has an introduction and then five chapters so we’ll take the introduction this week and meet here to discuss it next Wednesday (Feb. 27th) and then take one chapter a week until Easter.

The book is about spirituality for the christian, perhaps the most misunderstood topic and word in our modern vernacular.

Kleinig introduces the book with this:

“The modern interest in spirituality is a bit like our interest in health.  Our obsession with health is not at all healthy;  in fact, it emphasizes the problems that we have without providing much of a solution to them. So, too, with our concern for spirituality!  Despite the multitude of books on spirituality that can be found in the bookshop, Christians seem to find it harder than ever to practice what they believe.  So many aspire to be spiritual high fliers but never seem to get off the ground for any length of time.  As the failures mount, so does the fascination with what seemingly cannot be achieved.  The only thing we learn is that something is lacking in this part of our lives.  But we end up with no understanding on how to fill the void……If we have problems living the life of faith, if we have challenges in our practice of prayer, the solution is not to be found in what we do, our self-appraisal, or our performance.  The solution to our problems is found in what we receive from God Himself, in His appraisal of us, and in His gifts to us.  Like our physical life and health, our spiritual life is something that is given to us, something that is to be received and enjoyed and celebrated.  Our piety is all a matter of receiving grace upon grace from the fullness of God the Father. “

Isn’t that good stuff?  The book is chocked full of this all too rare theological truth—-that we already have everything we need from the Father and we are merely learning to live from His fullness, which was bestowed on us at our Baptism.

Too often our Lenten journeys are ‘try-hard’ failures.   We give up coffee—-for a while.    We pray daily—-until we don’t.    We pull ourselves up with our spiritual bootstraps and suffer, by-golly.

But Lent is not about our supposed sacrifice of some earthly passion.  Lent is a journey with Christ to His passion.

Lent is not a time to focus on ourselves and our own particular abundance or lack of self-discipline.  Lent is a time of self-forgetfulness, where we learn to live more in union with Christ and less from our own capabilities.

Our Lenten discipline does not make us more holy.   We have the very righteousness of Christ and His holiness already.

Our Lenten failures do not make us more wretched but serve to remind us that our wretchedness has cost our Savior His life and that  He has gone to every length to secure our ransom.

We take this journey with Him to learn from Him what it means to be His child.   To remember what it’s like to be loved by Our Father.

To learn to receive from His hand nothing more and nothing less than what He Himself gives.

Lent is about Christ and His pilgrimage to the Cross, where His love is poured out for all humanity.

Spirituality is His work in us as He creates faith and repentance.

 

But what does that daily spirituality look like?   Dr. John Kleinig will be the perfect study leader as we explore what it really means to be spiritual.  Join us for lenten devotions.

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You may purchase Grace Upon Grace through this link and I’m donating my Amazon Affiliate funds to purchase 4 books for anyone who would like to participate in this book study but isn’t able to buy the book right now.  Just email me with your name and address and I’ll choose the first four people who respond:)

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Winner of Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman is Sarah Pinnault! Email me with your address, Sarah, and I’ll get the book out to you.

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You can find podcasts of Dr. Kleinig’s teachings here.

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Candace February 20, 2012 at 6:17 pm

I love your thoughts about lent! And that book sounds fabulous…I already committed to going through A Place at the Table, but I hope to read this book at some point, it sounds great!

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2 edie wadsworth February 23, 2012 at 6:33 am

Hi Miss Candace!  I think you’d love Dr. Kleinig’s book.  It’s like nothing I’ve ever read on spirituality.   
Blessed Lent to you and your sweet family.
hugs,
edie :)

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3 steve slowey February 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Awesome post!  I can’t wait to meet you in Nashville!  xoxo Sheri Slowey

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4 edie wadsworth February 23, 2012 at 6:32 am

I’m getting so excited and nervous Sheri!  Can’t wait to see you there :)
Do you have a blog?  Send me the link, if so.
xoxo,
edie

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5 felicia pollard February 20, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I would love to read this book.

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6 Valerie February 20, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Hi Edie.

What a lovely read for Lent!  I can’t wait to follow along with you via your posts!

BTW…I sent you an email via “contact” button.  I just wanted to make sure that you knew that I am more than willing to loan you “A Letter to Women” from Blessed John Paul II.  I didn’t know if you tracked down a copy through other sources or if you would like to borrow mine. I know that in order to purchase through ENDOW you must be affiliated with a Women’s Group/Bible Study through a local Catholic parish.

Just let me know.  I would be more than happy to mail out to you ASAP.

Take care,
Valerie

P.S. You can email me at vkueter@kc.rr.com or leave me a message here.  :)

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7 edie wadsworth February 23, 2012 at 6:32 am

Hi Valerie!
I’m so hard on books that I’m trying to locate my own but thank you so much for offering.   I have a few great Catholic friends who are on the lookout for me!  
Blessed Lent to you, my friend!
xoxo,
edie

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8 Liz Belanger February 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Hi there! I just started following you not long ago, and boy am I glad I did! Just picked up my copy (hope following your link and then proceeding to the Kindle version still gave you affiliate funds). I’m really looking forward to reading this book and the discussion here.

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9 edie wadsworth February 23, 2012 at 6:30 am

Yay, Liz!  So happy you’re joining us.  This book will be a blessing to us all :)
xoxo,
edie

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10 Tara February 20, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I’m reading a book called Give them Grace right now.  It’s a wonderful book on parenting in the Grace that has been given to us in Christ.  I’m ashamed of how often I get caught up in the work of it instead of the grace.  God is faithfully and lovingly teaching me more and more of his grace.

I’ve been thinking about what I’d sacrifice during Lent this year, but I kept feeling like instead of “giving something up” I need to focus more on extended time and consistent time with Christ.  Your post was used by God to confirm for me what this season needs to be.  Not me.  Not what I can surrender.  Not what I can sacrifice.  

Him.  Him.  Him.  Him alone.  His power.  His grace.  His love.  His forgiveness.  His righteousness.

thanks, edie.  

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11 edie wadsworth February 23, 2012 at 6:30 am

Yes, yes, yes Ms. Tara!  We’re on the same page :)
Sounds like a great book too.
I’m so LOVING my sign dear friend.
Thank you again, so so much.
love you,
edie

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12 Anonymous February 20, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Sounds like a great book,, Edie.  I’ll look forward to the discussions.

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13 edie wadsworth February 23, 2012 at 6:28 am

It is Miss Renee.  He’s a very gifted teacher.   Can’t wait to dive in:)
love you,
edie

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14 sarah February 20, 2012 at 8:16 pm

can’t wait!

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15 allyugadawg February 20, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I’m so excited! My husband & I were just looking for a great read for Lent. This is perfect! Whenever anyone asks me about the meaning & purpose of Lent I always point them to your blog post from last year. Thank you so much for shepherding us through Lent, Edie!

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16 edie wadsworth February 23, 2012 at 6:24 am

thank you so much dearie!  so glad you’ll read along with us :)
xo,
edie

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17 Becky17joe February 20, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Ordered it today! It will be here on Wednesday in time for Lent to start and me to start this Lenten journey with you. 

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18 edie wadsworth February 23, 2012 at 6:28 am

So glad to have you Becky!
I think you’ll love his fresh perspective on Christ-centered spirituality.
xo,
edie

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19 Sara B February 21, 2012 at 8:34 am

This sounds like the perfect book for me to read on my Lenten Journey this year.  I’ve decided to give up being ugly.   Not in the physical sense, but in the mental & spiritual sense.  I need to stop being so judgy & critical.  I need to focus on the grace given to all of us through Christ & find love for humanity.  Thank you for bringing a forum together that will help me with this.

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20 Cassie @ Bake Your Day February 21, 2012 at 9:22 am

This is beautiful. I have never read this or heard of the author but I’m checking it out. Very good stuff!

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21 Elizabeth Highsmith February 21, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Oh sister friend! I’m going to get in that with ya! And mercy I know the business of wo’man preach-uhs is a bit shaddy bid’ness depending on whom it may concern, so how bout you just become a seminary prof? :) hugs and love!

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22 edie wadsworth February 23, 2012 at 6:27 am

You always make me smile little Miss Elizabeth!
xoxo,
edie

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23 Robyn Quintana February 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm

So true!  I am not familar with this book but I so believe this.  I was just listening to a pod cast about this.  Looking forward to your thoughts as you dive in.

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24 Kritt17 February 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Sounds like a great one Edie!  I’m going to have to get this one!  I am finally starting to understand that it’s not about what we are doing for Him, but about what He did for US! :)
Kristi

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25 edie wadsworth February 23, 2012 at 6:27 am

And just when I think I ‘get it’, I’m making it all about myself again :)
So glad you’ll be joining us friend.
Much love,
edie

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26 Jennifer February 22, 2012 at 6:03 am

I am in!  I was just talking the other day on how I wanted to be more intentional spriritually in this Lenton season.  Can’t wait to get started with you, Edie !

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27 Kim | At Home With Kim February 22, 2012 at 6:13 am

Edie thank you for sharing on Lent again this year.  You are such wisdom to those of us still striving to “get it” and lead our children in it.  Will look so forward to your posts….

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28 Julie February 22, 2012 at 10:58 am
29 edie wadsworth February 23, 2012 at 6:26 am

So cool, Julie!  
Blessed Lent to you:)

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30 Sara Demoiny February 22, 2012 at 11:37 pm

I am planning to participate, but I may be a little late as I am just ordering the book.

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31 edie wadsworth February 23, 2012 at 6:25 am

yay, Sara!  So glad you’re on board with us.   Dr. Kleinig is such a wonderful, gracious, Christ-centered teacher.
Dinner club was so much fun.  Thank you for organizing and hosting :)
xoxo,
edie

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32 Brady Celeste February 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm

The book is downloaded! I’d like to mention this on my blog…since moving, the ether has been an important community for me as I establish connections here. So grateful for this opportunity.

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33 sb February 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

This is a wonderful post!  I am glad you recommended the book and look forward to reading it as soon as Amazon gets it in stock.  thanks so much for the recommendation Edie.

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