Note: As we continue to pray for healing for the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, this weekly message will feature guest writers from the Forward Movement staff and board of directors. Today’s message comes from Richelle Thompson, Forward Movement’s Managing Editor.
Dear friends in Christ,
Like so many of you, I postponed a lot of things during COVID—a long-dreamed-about vacation, trips to see family and friends, tickets for concerts and plays—and most of my routine medical visits. In the midst of the pandemic, the annual check-up didn’t seem critical. Neither did bloodwork, dental cleanings, mammograms, and eye exams. Two-and-a-half-years later, I’m trying to play catch-up. You probably are too. Lots of us—for plenty of justifiable reasons—made the same decision, cancelling or postponing these types of appointments. But ignoring these preventative measures comes with a cost, including missed chances for early detection or mitigation of various medical issues.
To be honest, I’ve sometimes treated my spiritual health the same way, quick to skip out on important commitment to worship, Bible study, and service. Sometimes I’ve had really good reasons (hello, pandemic, motherhood, stress, etc.), and sometimes I’ve offered sad excuses. But the result is the same: ignoring these routine practices comes with a cost.
That’s one of the reasons I’m excited about some of the new offerings from Forward Movement, including Kate Moorehead Carroll’s book, Vital Signs of Faith: Finding Health in Your Spiritual Life. As dean of the Episcopal cathedral in Jacksonville, Florida, Kate approaches spiritual health like a doctor does physical health. Just as oxygen flows to the heart, helping us live and breathe, time spent with God in prayer and service helps us to live faith-filled lives. In thoughtful and compelling prose, Kate explores four vital signs of faith and offers practical ways to monitor and improve our spiritual health.
Another diagnostic—and prescriptive—tool is the Book of Common Prayer. Most of us are familiar with the pages for Holy Eucharist and perhaps baptism, but the Book of Common Prayer holds a trove of riches. The Daily Office provides a pattern for prayer from morning to evening. The collects and prayers and thanksgiving sections offer ways to talk with God, and in the psalter, we find comfort, challenge, and connection that span the centuries.
Forward Movement’s new gift edition of the Book of Common Prayer has a special feature: the rubrics (or directions for liturgy) and principal feasts and holy days are printed in red, offering helpful cues for individual and corporate worship and prayer. The book is smaller than the ones in the pew, making them a great size to carry or have on a nightstand, and the leather cover, gilded edges, and ribbon make them feel both special and personal. (If you want to see these features and more, check out this “unboxing” video by a couple of our staff members.)
These are two fantastic resources offered by Forward Movement, but there are thousands more, both on our website and from other publishers and organizations throughout the church. Just as I’m back to monitoring my physical health in regular ways, so too am I recommitting to tending to my spiritual health. I invite you to join me. Call your doctor. And your priest. And spend some time checking in with God today.
More from our ministry:
From Grow Christians: A prayer practice for ordinary days
Help lay leaders renew their strength for ministry with Revive
Sign up for a live course on Vital Signs of Faith at ChurchNext