Christian devotional books are a dime a dozen. The market is flooded with new releases every year, most of which are average at best and ultimately ephemeral. This one is different. Instead of focusing on the contemporary and that which is passing away, the “Ancient Christian Devotional” helps Christians from all branches of Christ’s Church to connect to the saints and the Church of all ages.
The “Ancient Christian Devotional” provides a year of weekly readings for each week of the year. It is a rich devotional resource that provides a structure for the devotions of God’s people, while drawing upon the riches of the saints of the past. The theme and lessons are drawn from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) used by the mainline churches (Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist) and Roman Catholic Church. This is a 3-year cycle of readings for each week of the year and is tied to the liturgical life of the church and the church year.
Each week is divided up into the following sections:
- Overview of the Theme for the Week
- Opening Prayer (taken from early church resources)
- Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel Readings
- Psalm of Response
- Reflections from the Church Fathers
- Closing Prayer
The “Ancient Christian Devotional” is, therefore, an invaluable devotional resource that will help Christians place their private devotions in their proper context of the life of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Hopefully, it will lead many Christians to explore the writings of the church fathers more and see their lives in the Church in more holistic terms.
I have one significant criticism of the book, and that the devotionals are based on a weekly and not daily cycle. Oden, the editor, gives very little direction in how to use the devotional on a daily basis, and having a daily devotional time is what most of us are struggling with. You’ll have to be creative if you want to use this book on a daily, and not weekly, basis.
Having said this, the book deserves 5 stars because of the importance of helping to teach us all to read, pray, and meditate with the Church, and not apart from her. The prayers alone make this book worth the price!
Category: Book Reviews