Forward Today: Lent is about true love

Photo by Ahna Ziegler on Unsplash

Dear friends in Christ,

Today’s juxtaposition of Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday offers the perfect occasion for a critical reminder. This season of Lent is all about love. No, it’s not necessarily about romantic love. But this season invites us to return to the Lord—to focus on love of God and love of neighbor.

89 years ago, the very first publication of Forward Movement was a set of Lenten devotions. The founding leaders of Forward Movement saw Lent as a vital time to move forward on our journey as a church and as individuals. A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a transcript of a sermon preached at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine just before Lent in 1935. Bishop William Manning offered what he called “A Charge to the Diocese of New York on the Observance of Lent and the Forward Movement.”

Bishop Manning said, in part:

In the Forward Movement that we now need, and are undertaking, the first step must be a movement back to the use of our Bibles and our Prayer Books. A sincere, intelligent, and believing use of these two books by all of us will bring an awakening of interest, a deepening of conviction, a revival of faith and life which will arouse the whole Church, and at this time in which we are living we need this in every Diocese, in every Parish, and in every Home. Every man and woman who will faithfully read his Bible, and faithfully follow the teachings of his Prayer Book, will come near to Jesus, and this is the soul of our religion as Christians.

I encourage you to read the whole charge for some inspiration and very specific practices to try this Lent as we all repent and return to the Lord. What’s old is new again in our spiritual practices.

If you do not own a Bible you love, buy one to read and study at home. If you do not own a Book of Common Prayer, ask for one at your church or enjoy this lovely gift edition Book of Common Prayer from Forward Movement. If you are on the go, you can pray the Daily Office wherever you are, by reading or by listening to our podcasts, on our prayer website. However you do it, I strongly encourage you to take the good bishop’s advice and use this season to savor the scriptures and the prayer book.

The Bible and the Book of Common Prayer are not in themselves the ends of our spiritual journey, but they are treasures which can help us discover true love: the grace of God, the joy of loving God, and the delight of loving our neighbors. Have a blessed Lent.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn's signature

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

P.S. Do you want to pray through Lent with a devotional this year? It’s not too late. Download an ebook of Will You?, our newest Lenten devotional, from Amazon or Apple Books. You can also listen to Will You? as an audiobook from Audible or Apple Books. Our other Lent devotionals are also available as ebooks – browse to see which one speaks to you this season.

More from our ministry:

Laugh and learn about the saints this season: Lent Madness

Start your day with scripture and reflection: Forward Day by Day

Prepare for Easter: Order your Easter calendars today