Forward Today: Entering into the story

Palm Sunday 2023 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Boise, ID

Dear friends in Christ: We welcome back Margaret Ellsworth, Forward Movement’s Marketing Coordinator, as our guest author this week.

Holy Week begins on Sunday. Clergy and church workers (and musicians, and coffee hour hosts, and the bulletin-folding crew) are getting ready for the busiest week of the church year.

For my part, I’m queuing up the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack, as is my personal lighthearted tradition. And I’m clearing my schedule so that I can experience as many of the extra services I can. I want to spend next week immersed in the Passion story. It’s a story that can sometimes feel overly familiar — we hear bits and pieces of it every single Sunday — but really participating in it, the way we get to in this week’s liturgies, never fails to make it new again.

Over the years, there have been various moments of the Holy Week journey that have resonated with me in different ways:

Some years, in times of deep personal grief and struggle, I’ve found myself weeping on Good Friday at the foot of the cross.

Other years I found myself most stirred by Maundy Thursday, as Jesus’ acts of tender service—sharing bread and wine, washing his friends’ feet—seemed to mirror my day-to-day life as a caregiver of small children.

And I’ll never forget the outdoor Easter Vigil service after lockdowns were lifted, the first time in over a year that our church gathered in person—where we rejoiced to be together around the Paschal fire.

Just as I have seen my own life reflected in the stories of the Passion, so too does Holy Week prepare me to see the Passion in my life throughout the year. In moments of grief or joy, humble service or raucous celebration, I hope I can call to mind what Jesus has done for me, not just as something I know by rote, but as something I have experienced with my whole self.

Holy Week sweeps us up into the great story into which we have been baptized, the better for us to hear the echoes of that story everywhere. May we take time to sink into that great story this week, and meet our Lord and Savior there.

Yours faithfully,

Margaret Ellsworth
Marketing Coordinator

More from our ministry:

Reflect throughout the season of Easter at

Meditations for Eastertide: Easter Triumph, Easter Joy

Enter the story through song and reflection: Face to the Rising Sun

A daily opportunity to reflect on scripture: Forward Day by Day