An Excellent Lenten Devotion

Rev. Kurt Hein and Jerrell P. Hein have provided the church a gift by modernizing the language of several of the First Book of Homilies and creating a forty-day reading plan for Lent.  The resource is available here.

This reading plan goes through parts of Homilies I-IV, VIII, and IX.  The First Book of Homilies were the first part of Archbishop Cranmer’s reform program.  The Homilies predate both the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer.  When Queen Elizabeth restored Protestantism to her realm, a Second Book of Homilies was commissioned and added to the first book.

Although the Homilies are little-known today, they are referenced in the Thirty-Nine Articles. Article XI references the Homily on Justification (actually titled the Homily on Salvation). Article XXXV states that the homilies “doth contain a godly and wholesome Doctrine” and the two Books of Homilies were purposely sectioned-off to enable priests who did not have a license to preach to preach from these written sermons once every Sunday throughout the year.

I highly recommend Rev. Hein’s and Mr. Hein’s work to anyone in search of a very short daily Lenten devotion that is theologically packed. I pray that they revisit their work and expand their modernization as to each of the First Book of Homilies.  The complete set of Homilies can be read for free here.  If you would like to own a copy, I suggest the pricey, but scholarly masterpiece that Dr. Gerald Bray recently published.

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