Tag Archives: Holy Week

Forward Today: No matter what, God is there

Dear friends in Christ,

We stand poised to embark on a great journey, if we will make time for it. The next three days, the church around the world observes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter. Taken together, these are the Triduum Sacrum, or the Three Holy Days. They draw us into the heart of our life together as Christians.

It might seem impossible to go on this journey. All around us, our time and attention are demanded by concerns great and small. The fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris might be a parable for so much of our world: destruction and hope persist together. Political chaos looms in many nations. Poverty and wealth both abound, and violence never fades away. News networks do not relent. Fear grows and hope fades.

Crucifix

Making time for church services will not cause world peace, but our time in worship may inspire us to work for peace. The liturgies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter show us nearly every side of Jesus. And in knowing Christ Jesus, we encounter the image of the invisible God.

The Three Holy Days will fix nothing on their own, but we will see that God’s presence is never far, no matter what. Whether in love, friendship, betrayal, abandonment, suffering, death, and even hell, God is there.

I bid you God’s blessing and peace as we enter this holiest time of the year. Perhaps you will, as I do, find it helpful to pray this wonderful prayer that is used both on Good Friday and Easter Eve.

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Yours faithfully,
Scott Gunn
Executive Director
Image: Flickr

Today’s Flash Sale: Hour by Hour

Hour by HourPray without ceasing with this compact edition of the Daily Office complete with prayers and psalms for one week. This beautiful little book, excerpted from The Book of Common Prayer, will enable anyone to say the hours every day: Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline. Perfect for prayer and worship at all times and in all places. Hour by Hour is a thoughtful gift – the cover is deluxe soft leather, and it’s packaged in a small white gift box.

Regular: $20
Today: $15

*Discount is valid until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time

Forward Today: Holy Week and the heart of Christian faith

Dear friends in Christ,

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. I imagine regular readers of Forward Today will be in church quite a bit next week, including Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Eve.

As a parish priest, I loved this time in our liturgical year. It gets right at the heart of our faith to move through these sacred days. In our experience of these evocative liturgies, we learn so much about the God we worship. It was also the busiest week of the year, by far. Though the hours were long and the tasks plentiful, I loved the gift of leading people through this pilgrimage every year.

priests

If you are one of the people who helps lead Holy Week worship—clergy, choir member, altar guild, reader, teacher, usher, greeter, preacher—I hope you’ll savor this gift. Take care of yourself in this busy time, and do what you can to enter fully into Holy Week.

If you are a member of a church who is not helping with Holy Week liturgies this year, I invite you to pray for all those who have this calling and this work. Pray especially for your clergy and musicians. They will work long hours.

And let all of us, whatever our role, give our hearts and our lives fully to this week. It will change us.

One of the prayers for Palm Sunday puts us in the right perspective, and I invite you to pray it through the week to come.

Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Image: Flickr


Today’s Flash Sale: Broken

BrokenBefore Jesus broke the bread, he blessed it.

In the age of social media, where our lives are curated to show only our best and most beautiful selves, it is easy to believe we are the only ones who are broken. But we are not alone. We are all broken and in need of God’s blessing. No one has it all together; no person is perfect.

In essays both humorous and achingly vulnerable, author Ryan Casey Waller urges us to join him in pouring out our brokenness, not just to God but to each other. Waller takes us through the trials of following Jesus during seasons of doubt and disbelief, anger, shame, and even hate, but always brings us back to the amazing news that Jesus blessed the bread before he broke it.

Through Jesus, our brokenness is blessed, our wounds healed, and our hearts made whole.

Regular: $18
Today: $13.50

*Discount is valid until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time