Forward Today: Lord, teach us to pray

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 Allison Sandlin Liles, editor of Grow Christians.

Dear friends in Christ, 

A couple of Sundays ago, we heard in our churches the beginning of chapter 11 in Luke’s Gospel in which an unnamed disciple asks Jesus to teach them how to pray. It’s the only time in the gospels that a disciple asks Jesus to teach them something; every other time, Jesus initiates the lesson himself.

The fact that this disciple needs help learning how to pray makes perfect sense to me. Prayer seems to be one of those things in which most people feel perpetually inadequate. We’re told as people of faith we need to pray, that we should pray, but the only way so many of us know how to pray is the way we learned as young children: kneeling at the side of a bed with hands clasped together, naming aloud our blessings and petitions. 

Many of us turn to books to try and teach ourselves what we are too afraid to ask. This disciple in Luke 11 approaches Jesus and speaks for all of us: “Lord, teach us to pray.” Jesus responds with a sample prayer, a parable and some additional sayings about prayer that make it seem so easy. But prayer is not easy—it’s a spiritual discipline that requires patience and practice before it feels natural.  

Two weeks ago, after preaching on this text and the importance of developing a regular prayer habit, a member asked if I might teach a formation class on various types of prayer. She is someone whom I know prays for me every single day, who spent years praying fervently in her life as a Roman Catholic nun, and who, honestly, would teach such a class more effectively than I would.  When she made this request, I realized I preached an entire sermon about the importance of prayer without walking through different methods of prayer.

I know the role daily prayer plays in my own life—the impact of skipping a morning centering prayer session and the lightness and grounding that comes from consecutive days of sitting through it. But what about the prayer lives of the people in my care? Shouldn’t their personal response to God’s presence be a priority for me as their church leader?

From my own experiences, I know that when the people within our faith communities engage daily prayer, they are changed. They notice God in the ordinary. They feel more connected with those around them. Their lives are led by faith and hope. They are transformed. 

I wonder about the lasting impact of church leaders investing time and energy into nourishing the prayer lives of their members. How might the entire community be transformed?

Faithfully,
Allison Sandlin Liles
Editor, GrowChristians.org


More from our ministry:

Explore different modes of prayer: Seek and You Will Find

Go deeper into the prayer Jesus taught us: Bold to Say

Allison’s writing on Grow Christians: Envisioning Jesus in Our Own Image

Pray with us every day: prayer.forwardmovement.org

Forward Today: Putting our faith and trust in God

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.

Miriam McKenney, Hannah Wilder, and Scott Gunn at the Episcopal Communicators conference in 2014.

We were finishing lunch at our Airbnb. I was much more excited than the rest of my family to go to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. I always visited there when we were in Connecticut to visit my in-laws. Just as we were leaving, I got a call to join an emergency meeting where I learned that Scott Gunn, Forward Movement’s executive director, was seriously ill in Singapore. Tears rush up as I type these words, just as they did at that moment, along with shock, dread, worry, and fear. I don’t remember much else about that first meeting except those feelings. 

Our plans to go to the museum faded as I sat on the couch, unable to move or make sense of my thoughts. Finally, I decided to work on Odyssey, our magazine for donors and friends of Forward Movement. We’ve been moving through the Way of Love spiritual practices, and our next issue is on worship. I opened my copy of Scott’s book The Way of Love Practical Guide to read the worship chapter and decide which part to excerpt for the magazine.

Here is where trusting that God knows exactly what we need comes in. I had no idea that I needed to read what Scott had to say about worship—something he loves to do. He starts the chapter with this story:

When I was a younger adult, I was a bit of a spiritual nomad. I spent several years looking to make sense of the Christian faith. My wandering was all very cerebral. Then one evening, I entered a church with a liturgy that was ceremonially rich and ornate. All of my mental circuit breakers were blown—in a very good way. No one rationalized what happened in Holy Communion. Instead, people genuflected in awe at the majestic presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. There was glorious music and the scent of incense, and all of this was happening in a stunning space. I glimpsed heaven. I was swept along into a realm that was much larger than my imagining. I was with people whose physical postures and actions manifested a sacrificial worship of God in Jesus Christ.  

Tears continued to stream down my face as I copied and pasted the salient parts of the chapter for Odyssey. I realized it was not me but God who guided me to the words and thoughts of my boss, colleague, friend, and brother in Christ. I can’t say I felt better, but I did feel calm and peace enveloping me. I felt trust where I’d felt fear. I rooted myself in a constant stream of prayer for all of it. I allowed my mind and heart to travel down paths I didn’t want to travel because I knew I had a way back. Spirit would not leave me. Jesus was near.  

Working with Scott for the last eleven years has changed my spiritual life. Those who know us might be surprised to hear me give him credit for that—but it’s true. Growing up as a priest’s daughter did not guarantee a close relationship with Jesus or even an understanding of who Jesus really was. Spending time reading scripture, practicing spiritual practices, and even knowing it’s essential to do those things is due to Scott’s relentless call to all of us to get closer to God. That he continues to heal and will eventually journey back to us is something we can praise God for, saying: 

O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your servant Scott, that his weakness may be banished and his strength restored; and that, his health being renewed, he may bless your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Thank you for your prayers for Scott, Sherilyn, and the staff and board of directors of Forward Movement. I know that Scott’s healing and your prayers are intertwined. As our board chair Kate Wesch said last week, prayer is crucial for Scott and all who care for him. You are in our prayers, and we thank God for you.

Peace,
Miriam

Miriam McKenney is Forward Movement’s Director of Development and Mission Engagement. 


More from our ministry:

Pray with us every day: prayer.forwardmovement.org

An update about the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn

Dear friends in Christ,

The power of prayer is never to be underestimated. God is present in our waiting, in our worry, and in our joy. Today, we get to share profound joy and gladness with you.

We are thrilled to announce that our executive director, the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, has made significant progress in his healing over the past few days. His medical team report that all signs are pointing toward a full and complete recovery.

His doctors expect that he will be able to travel home from Singapore in four to six weeks. While he may be released from the hospital before then, he will need to continue his rehabilitation on an outpatient basis before doctors can recommend long-distance travel.

Scott’s wife, the Rev. Sherilyn Pearce, will remain with him in Singapore through his rehabilitation and recovery. During this time, we ask that you refrain from calling, texting, or emailing so that they may devote their energy entirely to Scott’s health and the extraordinary medical and therapeutic resources that are supporting his miraculous progress. They both experience the power of your prayers each day.

We will continue to update you as information is available. The staff and board of directors of Forward Movement appreciate your support and ask for your continued prayers for Scott, Sherilyn, and his medical team.

Let us pray.

O Lord, your compassions never fail and your mercies are new every morning: We give you thanks for giving our brother Scott both relief from pain and hope of health renewed. Continue in him, we pray, the good work you have begun; that he, daily increasing in bodily strength, and rejoicing in your goodness, may so order his life and conduct that he may always think and do those things that please you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP p. 460)

 In faith and peace,

The Rev. Kate Wesch
Board Chair

 

 

Forward Today: Of prayer and patience

Editor’s Note: We bring you our Forward Today weekly message a bit ahead of schedule this week, to give our community the latest updates on our Executive Director Scott Gunn’s condition and to ask continued prayers for his recovery. Thanks to The Rev. Kate Wesch, our Board Chair, for stepping in to write.


Dear friends in Christ,

My name is Kate Wesch and I am the Chair of the Board of Forward Movement. On behalf of the staff and members of the board, I would like to thank you for your care, concern, and prayers for Scott Gunn since his serious medical incident last week.

Recent reports from Scott’s wife, Sherilyn Pearce, say that he has come a long way in a short amount of time. Sherilyn also says, “It is not an overstatement when I say that it is miraculous that he is alive.” If I have learned anything from Scott, it’s that God can do anything, and the power of prayer can indeed be miraculous.

It was only a couple months ago that the board gathered in New York City to pray, enjoy one another’s company, and dream about the mission and ministry of Forward Movement. This ministry is about reaching a disparate community, providing resources to all Episcopalians, and ultimately inspiring disciples and empowering evangelists. And, as we have seen in the past week through so many messages of care and concern, this is Christian community as well.

While we wait for more news, hoping Scott is okay, worrying about his friends and loved ones, we must remember that God is in this. God is in the waiting too. God is present in our prayers even when they don’t seem like enough. Because I’ll tell you a secret. They are. Your prayers are enough.

And so, may we continue to pray:

O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your servant Scott., that his weakness may be banished and his strength restored; and that, his health being renewed, he may bless your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In faith and peace,

The Rev. Kate Wesch
Board Chair

A pastoral announcement about the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn

Dear friends, we come to you today with difficult news. Our executive director, the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, had a serious medical incident while on vacation in Singapore. He is now hospitalized there, and late last night, his wife, the Rev. Sherilyn Pearce, arrived to be with him.

This morning, Sherilyn reports that Scott is resting comfortably and is receiving world-class medical care. His current condition is critical but improving, and while hopeful, doctors report that he has a long road ahead. The medical and pastoral team, along with Sherilyn, are encouraged. She is particularly grateful for the care and support of the Anglican Church in Singapore, which has made a significant difference both for her and for Scott.

We encourage your prayers for Scott, Sherilyn, the medical and pastoral team in Singapore, and all those who love and care for them. We also appreciate your understanding of our need to balance sharing information and respecting personal privacy. We will share more news when we have it, and for now ask you to offer your intentions and prayers below.

Let us pray…

For Recovery from Sickness
O God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to your servant Scott the help of your power, that his sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, 458)

For Today
O God:
Give me strength to live another day;
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;
Let me not lose faith in other people;
Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;
Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;
Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;
Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;
Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;
and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;
in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. (Phillips Brooks)

 


Queridas amigas y amigos, tenemos tristes noticias: El Rvdo. Canónigo Scott Gunn, director ejecutivo de Forward Movement, cayó gravemente enfermo cuando llegaba de vacaciones a Singapur. Está hospitalizado allí. Anoche la esposa, la Rvda. Sherilyn Pearce, llegó para estar con él.

El último informe que recibimos es que está cómodo y recibiendo excelente atención médica. Su condición es crítica, pero muestra síntomas de mejora. El equipo médico dice que en el mejor de los casos habrá una larga convalecencia. El equipo médico, el equipo pastoral y Sherilyn están animados. Ella, en particular, está agradecida a la Iglesia Anglicana en Singapur por el valioso apoyo que les están dando en estos momentos difíciles.

Te pedimos que ores por Scott, Sherilyn, el personal médico y el equipo pastoral en Singapur, y todos lo que los aman y apoyan. Esperamos que comprendas que tenemos que respetar la privacidad de la familia. Te daremos más noticias cuando estén disponibles, y ahora te pedimos que nos acompañes en oración.

Oremos.

Por el restablecimiento de la salud:
Oh Dios, fortaleza de los débiles y consuelo de los que sufren: Acepta misericordiosamente nuestras oraciones y concede a tu siervo Scott el auxilio de tu poder, a fin fe que su enfermedad se convierta en salud y nuestra tristeza en gozo; por Jesucristo nuestro Señor. Amén. (Libro de Oración Común, p. 379)

Para el día de hoy:
Oh Dios: Dame la fortaleza de vivir un nuevo día;
que no me acobarde ante sus dificultades,
ni sea desleal a sus deberes;
que no pierda la fe en los demás;
consérvame manso y puro de corazón,
a pesar de la ingratitud, la traición o la vileza;
líbrame de concebir pequeñas aflicciones
y de imponérselas a otros;
ayúdame a conservar limpio el corazón
y a vivir honesta y valientemente,
para que ningún fracaso externo pueda desanimarme
ni arrebatarme el gozo de una conciencia íntegra;
abre los ojos de mi alma
para que pueda percibir el bien de todas las cosas;
concédeme hoy una nueva visión de tu verdad;
inspírame con el espíritu del gozo y la alegría;
y hazme cáliz de fortaleza para los que sufren;
en nombre de nuestro poderoso Liberador,
el único Señor y Salvador, Jesucristo. Amén. (Phillips Brooks)

Forward Today: Curb appeal

Dear friends in Christ,

About a year ago, my spouse and I bought a new house. We spent months looking for just the right home for us. Our real estate agent would sometimes talk with us about “curb appeal.” What does the house look like as you drive by?

Some houses have lots of curb appeal. And others might not have so much curb appeal but they still look great on the inside. House buyers might never find their way into a great house if there isn’t enough curb appeal.

It’s not all that different for churches. When people are looking for a new church home, they might drive by to see what your church looks like from the outside. Others might just be driving by and notice that your church looks well-tended and active, or unkempt and stagnant. Church seekers might never find their way into a great church if there isn’t enough curb appeal.

I mention all this because summer is a great time to look over your church for its curb appeal. Is the lawn tidy? Is the landscaping neat? Does it look like this is a place where things are happening?

These things do not need to be expensive. Simple things (perhaps a splash of paint here and a snip of the shrub trimmers there) might make a huge difference. Does your church building have a sign out front? Does that sign look great? Does it offer an inviting message?

And if people might have trouble finding their way to your church, you might consider an Episcopal church sign. Forward Movement recently became the official purveyor of church signs, and we’d love to help you reach new people with the Gospel.

When I was a parish priest, we found that inviting groups of people to come work on the church’s “curb appeal” was a fun way to connect people with one another. Maybe you’ll find the same thing.

If you think your church looks great, send me a photo! If you have an Episcopal Church sign, send me a photo of that. I’m always glad to see how we’re doing on curb appeal, because I’m always glad to know how we’re doing at making disciples.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn's signature

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


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Refreshment for lay leaders this summer: Revive small-group series

From ChurchNext: How to Be a Godparent

From Grow Christians: Staying Connected over the Summer Months

Use code GC2022 to save 10% on the Forward Movement website throughout July!

Forward Day by Day app and website upgrades add Spanish content, new features

Forward Movement has updated its popular Forward Day by Day app and Daily Prayer website with a Spanish language setting, as well as a fourth daily podcast.

App users and website visitors may now select English or Spanish in their preferences, changing the scripture, prayers, and devotions, as well as navigation and system settings. Ongoing improvements to scripture translations will continue to improve the reading experience in Spanish in the coming months.

Scripture Day by Day podcast logoThe upgrade also unveils Scripture Day by Day, a new daily office podcast following the readings listed in Forward Day by Day, with lectionary readings for Sundays and Major Feasts following the Revised Common Lectionary.

Created by the Rev. Canon Wiley Ammons of Jacksonville, Florida, Scripture Day by Day joins three podcasts already available for playback within the app and website: the Forward Day by Day Podcast, A Morning at the Office, and An Evening at Prayer. All are available across major podcast platforms and on the Forward Movement website.

The latest improvements are thanks to the work of the Rev. Greg Johnston of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who overhauled the app and website in the summer of 2021. Johnston is also the creator of the popular Venite app, which Forward Movement began sponsoring in 2020.

“These upgrades have a tangible impact on people’s journey with Jesus, especially as we navigate a busy and distracting world,” said the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, Forward Movement executive director. “We’re honored to work with a dedicated community of partners and donors to improve this free offering for the church.”

Visitors to the website (prayer.forwardmovement.org) will see the new options immediately, though a browser refresh may be needed. Users of the Forward Day by Day app should automatically receive the update, depending on their device and settings.

The donor-supported app is available free of charge on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

About Forward Movement

Forward Movement inspires disciples and empowers evangelists. We offer devotions, Bible studies, formation courses, and other resources to equip and support people in their walk with Jesus Christ. Visit www.forwardmovement.org or www.venadelante.org to learn more.

 


La aplicación “Forward Day by Day” ahora está disponible en español, y con más funciones

Forward Movement ha actualizado la aplicación “Forward Day by Day” y el sitio web de oración diaria, que ahora ofrece el texto en español y un cuarto podcast diario.

Quienes usan la aplicación o visitan el sitio web podrán ahora seleccionar español o inglés, cambiando el idioma de las escrituras, oraciones y devociones, así como las configuraciones de navegación y sistema. En los próximos meses se harán mejoras adicionales.

Scripture Day by Day podcast logoLa aplicación incluye además “Scripture Day by Day”, un nuevo podcast del oficio diario que sigue las lecturas indicadas en Adelante día a día, con las lecturas del leccionario para los domingos y las fiestas mayores tal como aparecen en el Leccionario Común Revisado.

“Scripture Day by Day” fue creado por el Rev. Canónigo Wiley Ammons de Jacksonville, Florida, y se suma a los tres podcasts que ya están disponibles en la aplicación y el sitio web: El podcast de Forward Day by Day, A Morning at the Office y An Evening at Prayer. Todos están disponibles en las plataformas de podcasts y en el sitio web de Forward Movement.

Las mejoras más recientes las realizó el Rev. Greg Johnston de Cambridge, Massachusetts, que en el verano de 2021 renovó la aplicación y el sitio web. Johnston es también el creador de la aplicación Venite, que Forward Movement viene patrocinando desde 2020,

El Rev. Canónigo Scott Gunn, director ejecutivo de Forward Movement, dijo que “estas mejoras impactan de manera tangible nuestro caminar con Jesús, especialmente con los muchos trajines y distracciones de nuestro mundo. Nos honra poder trabajar con una comunidad de socios y donantes para mejorar este recurso que le ofrecemos gratuitamente a la iglesia”.

Las mejoras ya pueden verse en el sitio Prayer.ForwardMovement.org. Quienes ya usan la aplicación Forward Day by Day recibirán una actualización automática según el dispositivo y las configuraciones que usen.

La aplicación, que es gratuita y se logró con el apoyo de donantes, se puede descargar en las tiendas digitales de Apple y de Google Play.

Forward Movement

En Forward Movement inspiramos discípulos y empoderamos evangelistas. Ofrecemos devociones, estudios bíblicos, cursos de formación y otros recursos para equipar y apoyar nuestro discipulado con Jesucristo. Para averiguar más, visítanos en www.ForwardMovement.org o www.VenAdelante.org.

 

Forward Today: Giving thanks for our church

Dear friends in Christ,

As I write this, I am on a plane on my way home from the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, where I was honored to serve in the House of Deputies. Normally, I would have spent some time in a Forward Movement booth in the exhibit hall, too, but the convention was downsized and shortened this year due to the pandemic.

I’m still mulling over the results of convention. We acted on over 400 resolutions. If you’re curious what all happened, you can read a quick summary of the convention over on the Episcopal News Service. And I was one of the photographers for Deputy News, and I posted some snaps on my Flickr album.

A couple of quick thoughts come to mind. I wish we spent more time and energy considering how our church can more fully carry out the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. We need to do this not because our churches are in decline, but because the Good News of Jesus Christ can transform lives and change the world.

There was plenty of Good News at the convention, however. I always marvel at our democratic process for making decisions as a church. Lay people are essential—and involved—at all levels of church governance, along with bishops, priests, and deacons. In our deliberations, there was careful listening even when we disagreed.

It was a joy to be together, even for a brief time, with people who are united in their passion to make our church better. Our vision of what “better” looks like might differ, but each person is there because they love the church and the Lord Jesus.

Sometimes people say General Convention is disconnected from the lives of our congregations. If you only look at the content of some of the resolutions, that might seem true. But General Convention manifests something essential about our identity as Episcopalians: we believe that the Holy Spirit still works in the church, and we believe that lay people, bishops, priests, and deacons together discern where the Spirit is calling us to go. That charism is true at the churchwide level, at the diocesan level, and in our congregations.

Let us give thanks for the Spirit’s work. And let us pray for the grace and courage to be even more open to the winds of the Spirit and the winds of change.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn's signature

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


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Forward Today: Of courage and grace

Dear friends in Christ,

Tomorrow I leave for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Originally scheduled for the summer of 2021, the pandemic has forced us first to postpone and now to shorten and simplify the convention. Instead of the usual two-week gathering of voting deputies, bishops, exhibitors, youth, young adults, Episcopal Church Women, and visitors, we are limited to four days of just those who will be deliberating on legislation for our church.

Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg / Episcopal News Service

The General Convention is a sometimes unwieldy but truly lovely part of our church. It’s not hard to criticize its excess, but it’s also important to recognize what it shows us about our church. At this gathering, lay people, bishops, priests, and deacons all work together to deliberate. Our church involves lay people at all levels of governance. The gathering will be live streamed for all to watch, and you will witness the careful procedure that is followed to protect the democratic nature of the work.

You can follow along online at the General Convention media hub, and if you’re bored, you can read some of the 412 resolutions that will be considered. But more than that, I hope you will pray for this gathering. Deputies and bishops will be voting on resolutions concerning racial healing and justice, our liturgies, discipleship and evangelism, and many other matters. Pray that we have the courage to follow the Spirit’s will in all things. Pray that we know God’s grace in our lives and in our beloved church.

And those of us who are gathered will need grace of other kinds, too. The necessary precautions to keep us safe during the pandemic are sensible, but they will be challenging. Many of our usual patterns have been upended, as we all have to learn new ways of doing things. Some of what is planned will doubtless unfold in ways that were not planned. We’ll need grace to forgive, to laugh, to apologize, and to be open to new ways.

Isn’t that like the whole church though? General Convention is, in many ways, a microcosm for all our churches, big and small. So much has been disrupted by two years of the pandemic. We grieve those who have died and all the things we have lost. And yet there is also a blessing in disruption. We are necessarily focused on what is most important. We are knocked out of our complacency. We are forced to consider how the church of 2022 can bear the Good News of Jesus Christ in a world that desperately needs to know God’s grace and mercy.

Pray for those who gather in Baltimore.

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in the General Convention for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

If you’re going to be there, please say hello. You can find me during legislative sessions in the House of Deputies or outside when the convention is on break.

Yours faithfully,
Scott Gunn's signature

P.S. Forward Movement doesn’t have a booth in the exhibit hall this time, but we’re still offering a discount for General Convention shopping. You can use code GC2022 on our website or for phone orders to save 10% throughout the month of July.


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Forward Today: The peace of Christ

Dear friends in Christ,

It’s been a difficult few weeks for the world and for the United States. We’ve seen earthquakes, gun violence, political upheaval, wars, and the ongoing global pandemic. It wouldn’t be difficult to lose hope at a time like this.

How can we stay hopeful? What are we to do?

Image from the catacomb of Domitilla shows one of the oldest known images of Jesus Christ as the good shepherd / Wikimedia Commons

I find the Gospels helpful in difficult times. There I am reminded that even Christ’s disciples—people who knew Jesus and saw his works—didn’t have the answers and sometimes lost their way. Jesus again and again had to redirect his followers. Sometimes he cajoled them. Sometimes he taught them. Sometimes he showed them signs and wonders. Always, he loved them.

If we lose our way, we are never alone. The Spirit abides with us. But what about all those times we can’t even see the Spirit at work in the world and in our own hearts?

Thanks be to God we have the church. Christ’s body, the church, is our haven and our sustenance. We can be nourished as we hear God’s word spoken to us. We can be sustained as we receive the sacraments. We can inspired as we listen to others bear witness to the grace and mercy of God at work in their lives.

I am not suggesting that we should flee the world and hide out inside our stained glass windows. I am not suggesting that the Gospel magically remedies the injustice and violence of the world. But the fact is that we who follow Jesus need to be reminded that he is the way, the truth, and the life. We need to remember that we are beloved of God, and that we are called to love others as he first loved us.

You and I don’t have to save the world. Jesus has done that. Our task is to give thanks for God’s love for us and to manifest that love in word and deed. I can’t say that we will make everything right in this world, but I can say with every fiber of my being that, in the end, love wins. Easter shows us that.

So what shall we do now?

We can offer compassion. Console those who suffer. Speak up for the voiceless. Give of our substance to those who have less. Name evil when we see it. Love our enemies. Pray for the needs of the world. And above all bear witness to God’s grace and mercy.

I might also add that righteous anger is holy, as the scriptures remind us. Righteous anger is not anger at our own suffering, but rather rage on behalf of the poor, the vulnerable, the widow, the orphan, and all those in great need. God sides with the meek not the mighty, and it’s just fine for God’s people to remind everyone of that.

In these times, I beseech you to spend time with other Christians. Worship on the Lord’s Day. Go to a Bible study. Pray with a friend. That’s how we keep our compass when the world seems to spin out of control.

We can’t make peace, but we can find Christ’s peace even in the midst of the storm.

The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you, and remain with you always. Amen.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn's signature

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


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Pray with us every day at prayer.forwardmovement.org