As I'm writing this an eery mist is covering my home town of Sheffield. It feels like the outside world is emerging from a fog as the sun tries hard to win over from the last few days of snow and ice.
At this time of year, for centuries, followers of Christ have begun to turn their eyes towards the coming season of Lent which begins on 1st March. Lent is experienced in different ways and in different traditions but mirrors Jesus 40 days in the wilderness and explores ourselves and our willingness to come face to face with our internal life - both light and shadows.
Jesus experienced both the comfort of God and the pain of emptiness and sorrow whilst he spent time in the wildnerness. Eastern traditions often refer to this time as "bright sadness" for those same reasons of comfort and pain and that contrast mirrors many of our emotions as we reflect on ourselves, our world and on the divine. We hope some of the art, music and reflections on this site might help you a little on this journey.
Fresh on the site today is Songs for the Way by Joshua Walters. Songs for the Way is a unique collection of short (1-2 min) chants and contemplative songs, backed by sheet music, prayers and notes and guidance for players and participants. Joshua has created a wonderful resource which encourages you into the world of contemplative music and asks us not merely to listen but also to learn and then to practice these chants for others. Definitely an immersive experience.
As we approach this coming season, the Lent section of the website in Seasons in the menu should be of help. A particularly popular resource is Si Smith's 40 and it's accompanying 40 Book by Si and Chris Goan. These are two inspiring interactions with the story of Jesus in the wilderness with moving words and beautiful illustrations. Each Lent we find loads of people download this resource and love it, coming back to it each year.
40 Thoughts was released last year by Tim Watson as a free resource to download and it has proved very helpful to many. Why not download it and try out Tim's daily challenges and tasks for Lent.
Another great resource is Cave by Harry Baker. This is all about seeking God alone and echoes the yearnings and challenges we all find in solitude and isolation. Harry's poetry is incredibly popular and this one is a Proost favourite.
At Lent we often find people seek out Pocket Liturgies on the site to help their community or church travel through the season together. Making Communion from Grace is one of the most popular in this line of Liturgies. Making Communion is the second set of Liturgies from Grace but specifically explores Communion and is packed with creative, innovative approaches to the church's most ancient rite. It also has a long introduction which helpfully shares Grace's story and how they have negotiated a creative approach within the Church of England.
As well as these individual resources you may want to explore the other areas of the website. A Get it All subscription is a great way to do this, enabling you to get your hands on everything on the site for one whole year. Why not sign up today?
As well as sharing these Lent resources with you we wanted to follow up on two other Proost developments.
We are still open for submissions to our Discordant journal to come on Wonder. Visit the page and take a look.
Secondly you may remember Learning to Love, our collaborative poetry book which became one of Proost's biggest ever sellers. Well the team are now inviting submissions for a second collaborative book. If you're a poet why not take a look at the page on Chris Goan's blog to find out more.
This is the first of two updates you'll be getting from us this Lent as we have more new resources to launch shortly and also some live events to tell you about. Watch this space.
The Proost Team