Tag Archives: Lent

Forward Today: Ash Wednesday

Dear Friends,

We do an important thing today—a brave thing, daunting enough that we need Jesus beside us while we do it. Today, the Church invites us to admit three deep truths about ourselves: we are dying, beloved, and incapable of saving ourselves. That confession can shake us to our cores. We don’t tell these kinds of hard truths to ourselves very often, and I think that’s why Ash Wednesday is so important—why the discipline of it and the truths we tell ourselves on this day deeply matter.

Wearing the ashes of last year’s Palm Sunday fronds on our foreheads is a stark reminder of how quickly life can change and how changeless God’s deep love is for each of us. Odds are that someone you know and love has died this year—maybe even several people. And by the time Ash Wednesday rolls around next year, you might not be here, either. I might not. Jesus might come back. We just don’t know. But what we do know is that today is a special day—a day of tallying up the count, and then throwing out the numbers.

Ashes

Ash Wednesday, much like other festival days, reminds us of the already-and-not-yet nature of the kingdom of God. We are dying a little bit every day. And even in our dying, we are being lifted into something new, something whole and holy, the elevated substance of what we have already been made to be. Ash Wednesday reminds us that the whole world palm trees, people, prophets—is being brought into subjection under God’s Christ, renewed and restored and resplendent. This day takes us back to the first day, to the dust of our creation, to the breath of the Holy Spirit filling our nostrils and giving us life. It takes us to our last day, to breathing our last breath back into the Holy Spirit and saying “Thank you” for letting us be here.

If you can, try to plan and take today kind of easy. It’s a big day. You’ll need some extra space in your head and heart. If you’ve been procrastinating choosing a Lenten discipline, you can join in on our Lent Tracks by visiting www.ForwardMovement.org or playing along with www.LentMadness.org. However you choose to observe this holy season, know our prayers are with you. Jesus sets his face toward Jerusalem; may we be brave enough to follow.

With prayers for a holy Lent,

Rachel Jones
Associate Editor, Forward Movement


Ashes speak to me
of what matters and
what does not.

Remind me of the heart
of my heart and that I
and the ones I love
are more that what
will dribble into the
ground.

May I be thankful
that I await not just
the ashes

but the Phoenix.

-Len Freeman

Woodcut by Jason Sierra


Today’s Flash Sale: Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book

Saint Augustine's Prayer BookSaint Augustine’s Prayer Book is a book of prayer and practice—with disciplines, habits, and patterns for building a Christian spiritual life. It will help you to develop strong habits of prayer, to prepare for and participate in public liturgy thoughtfully, and to nurture a mind and soul ready to work and give and pray for the spread of the kingdom. Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book features “Holy Habits of Prayer,” devotions to accompany Holy Eucharist, Stations of the Cross, and Stations of the Resurrection, and a wide range of litanies, collects, and prayers for all occasions. The newly revised edition includes the treasured liturgies and prayers of the original while offering some important updates in language and content. Revised and edited by well-regarded scholars David Cobb and Derek Olsen, the Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book is a wonderful gift as well as a handsome addition to your own prayer book collection. Comes leather-bound (black) with two ribbons in a gift box.

Regular: $28
Today: $21

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


How is God calling you to enter the holy season of Lent? What path will you walk during these forty days?

Forward Movement invites you to explore and respond to how Jesus is tugging at your heart. While the season of Lent calls us all into a particular period of reflection, we choose different journeys. Depending upon where we are in our own seasons of life and faith, we may be called into a time of deep introspection, contemplation, and prayer. Perhaps God is calling us to an outward focus on works of mercy. Or maybe we need a time of formation, to connect our hearts and minds as we walk in love.

We offer three broad paths built around the Way of Love, the Presiding Bishop’s call for practices that support a Jesus-centered life. Each path suggests a primary resource as well as numerous others that expand on the central theme. We offer these as guideposts, as trail markers, knowing and hoping that you will choose your own path during this Lent, and in doing so, make a choice to choose Jesus.

Learn more and choose your Lenten path here.

Forward Today: Lenten practices

Grant, O Lord, that by the observance of these days of Lent we may grow in companionship with Christ, and that by sharing his suffering we may come to know the power of his resurrection, this we pray through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen

If you had told me a decade ago that I would come to cherish the 40 days of Lent, I would have thought you were suffering from a case of mistaken identity. But I have become that person. I look forward to observing Lent and growing in companionship with Christ during those very special 40 days. I miss these days when they are over.

During Lent, I try to be more faithful about giving alms, spending time in prayer, and strengthening my spiritual practice.

One Lent, I intentionally carried dollar bills in my pocket every day so that if I encountered anyone in need, I would immediately have something beyond a smile to give them.

I love to learn more during Lent, and I like to immerse myself in several daily reflections. I especially recommend Forward Day by Day, of course, and also the reflections offered by Episcopal Relief & Development.

Not long ago, when I was feeling troubled, I prayed a very simple prayer: Lord, hold my hand. As I prayed that prayer, with my eyes closed and my brow furrowed in concentration on a commuter train hurtling towards New York City, the faces of friends appeared, one after the other. I saw how God had been sending all these people to me as his messengers to hold my hand.

May you experience God holding your hand during this Lent, and may you grow in companionship with Christ during these 40 days and ever after.

Yours in Christ,

Lynne Jordal Martin
Forward Movement Board Member


Today’s Flash Sale: Dust Bunnies in the Basket

Episcopal priest Tim Schenck offers good humor and spiritual direction for the journey through Lent and Easter. With keen observations and a clever wit, Schenck connects the mundane with the divine, from dust bunnies and egg hunts to foot washing and the Easter Vigil. Illustrated by popular cartoonist Jay Sidebotham, Dust Bunnies in the Basket challenges us to go deeper this Lent, to “kick up some dust every now and then, to roll up our sleeves and get involved with the world and the people around us.” This book is ideal for personal reflection or seasonal study groups and includes thoughtful questions at the end of each section.

Regular: $10
Today: $7.50

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


How is God calling you to enter the holy season of Lent? What path will you walk during these forty days?

Forward Movement invites you to explore and respond to how Jesus is tugging at your heart. While the season of Lent calls us all into a particular period of reflection, we choose different journeys. Depending upon where we are in our own seasons of life and faith, we may be called into a time of deep introspection, contemplation, and prayer. Perhaps God is calling us to an outward focus on works of mercy. Or maybe we need a time of formation, to connect our hearts and minds as we walk in love.

We offer three broad paths built around the Way of Love, the Presiding Bishop’s call for practices that support a Jesus-centered life. Each path suggests a primary resource as well as numerous others that expand on the central theme. We offer these as guideposts, as trail markers, knowing and hoping that you will choose your own path during this Lent, and in doing so, make a choice to choose Jesus.

Learn more and choose your Lenten path here.

Lenten Resources

Lent is just a few short weeks away. We’ve put together a list of resources that we believe will guide you, move you, challenge you, and ultimately transform you this Lenten season. We will be praying for you as we enter this sacred season.

Meeting JesusMeeting Jesus on the Margins
Meditations on Matthew 25

Where do you meet Jesus? In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus urges us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, and visit the prisoners. And in doing so, we meet Jesus. These daily reflections for Lent, offered by well-known faith leaders, provide boots-on-the-ground stories of serving and being served by “the least of these.” The meditations also explore our own hunger, our vulnerabilities, and the times we are imprisoned, either self-imposed or by circumstance. Come and meet Jesus each day this blessed Lenten season.


Are We There YetAre We There Yet?
Pilgrimage in the Season of Lent

As we make our way through Lent, we will come to realize that the journey—the wrestling and the wandering—is the real flesh and blood of our endeavor. Our companions on this Lenten journey are fellow pilgrims, sharing their stories about following yellow arrows along the Camino and white blazes through the Appalachian Trail to bearing witness to the pain of historic lynching sites in the American South. Contributors recount their search for healing and wholeness at Marian shrines, in a reunion with birth parents, and around a prayer circle in a psychiatric hospital.


Ashes and the PhoenixAshes and the Phoenix
By Leonard Freeman

Threaded throughout with the stunningly visual and visceral poems of Len Freeman and guided by the collects for Lent and Holy Week, Ashes and the Phoenix seeks to lead us through the emotions, symbols, sights, sounds, and scents of Lent. Featuring original woodcuts by artist Jason Sierra, this book is a feast for hungry hearts and weary eyes. If you are seeking a way to answer the Church’s invitation to observe a holy Lent, Ashes and the Phoenix is an excellent companion for your journey to Easter.


Join the Journey Join the Journey through Lent
Illustrated by Jay Sidebotham

Join the Journey through Lent, illustrated by award-winning cartoonist Jay Sidebotham, invites spiritual reflection and is a wonderful companion for the Lenten season. The 17″ x 22″ size is just right for hanging on the wall or keeping on a table for daily coloring. Share these with your congregation, youth group, Sunday School classes, and keep them on hand for coloring fun.
Shrink wrapped in packs of 25, posters are 17″ x 22″, folded to 8.5″ x 11″.


Saintly Scorecard 2019 Saintly Scorecard

The Saintly Scorecard is the official guide to Lent Madness, featuring the biographies of all 32 saints in contention for the coveted Golden Halo. It also includes tips on how congregations and individuals can use Lent Madness as a devotional tool, as well as a handy glossary and fold-out bracket so you can keep track of the winners.

Contributors include: Laurie Brock, Megan L. Castellan, David Sibley, Amber Belldene, Anna Fitch Courie, David Creech, Marcus Halley, David Hansen, Emily McFarlan Miller, Carol Howard Merritt, and Adam Thomas.


2019 Lent Madness Bracket Poster

Lent Madness, inspired by college basketball tournaments, pits 32 saints against each other in a bracket, as each saint seeks to win the coveted Golden Halo. Throughout Lent, fans vote for their favorite saints at www.lentmadness.org. While you can download and print your own copy of the bracket from the website, many parishes and families like to have a poster-sized bracket to keep track of the competition. This color poster is 24″ x 36″ and ships to you folded.


Walk in LoveWalk in Love: Episcopal Beliefs & Practices
By Scott Gunn and Melody Wilson Shobe

This Lent, dig deeper into your faith with Walk in Love. Take a journey through The Book of Common Prayer, the Christian life, and basic beliefs of our faith, guided by two Episcopal priests – Scott Gunn and Melody Wilson Shobe. Walk through the liturgical year, the sacraments of the church, habits of daily prayer, and the teachings of Anglican Christianity. See how our prayer shapes our belief and our lives and how our beliefs lead us into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Forward Today: Meeting Jesus on the Margins

Matthew 25:34. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”

As a very small child, I loved books, but I hated to color and draw—which wasn’t awesome for developing the fine motor control little hands need to write legibly. I spent a lot of extra time at home with those wide-ruled practice papers and big pencils…top line-middle line-bottom line, loops and slanted lines, scrawling my name over and over. And there, on the edges of the paper were the margins. The margins were, in my kindergarten mind, a no-man’s land of red pen marks and do-overs. Those exercises were where I learned what margins meant—an area you weren’t supposed to trespass into, because it just wasn’t done.

It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about margins in my little-kid way, but I’ve learned a lot about the other kind of margins—the sidelines of society where we shove people who don’t look or think or pray or love like the majority of the society in which they live. The prophets warn us about this and so does Jesus. They don’t mince words either.

I cannot tell you the number of emails and letters we have received from all over the place telling us how folks have come to meet Jesus in the most unexpected and unexplored places in their lives and communities. People are writing the Gospel of love all over the margins, crossing lines and boundaries and making the kingdom of God come near with their lives and relationships.

As Lent beings to loom in our minds and on the liturgical calendar, we might begin to wonder how to shape and share our Lenten disciplines; I would invite you to examine the margins in your own life and work. Jesus is there—waiting for you. You can also participate in Forward Movement’s Lenten program: Choose Lent, Choose Jesus, which features our book Meeting Jesus on the Margins as one of the reading options.

With peace and joy,

Rachel Jones
Associate Editor, Forward Movement


Today’s Flash Sale: Meeting Jesus on the Margins

Where do you meet Jesus? In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus urges us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, and visit the prisoners. And in doing so, we meet Jesus. These daily reflections for Lent, offered by well-known faith leaders, provide boots-on-the-ground stories of serving and being served by “the least of these.” The meditations also explore our own hunger, our vulnerabilities, and the times we are imprisoned, either self-imposed or by circumstance. Come and meet Jesus each day this blessed Lenten season.

Authors include: Mike Kinman, Becca Stevens, Allison Duvall, Bo Cox, Hugo Olaiz, Lee Anne Reat, and Richelle Thompson.

Regular: $5
Today: $3.75

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


How is God calling you to enter the holy season of Lent? What path will you walk during these forty days?

Forward Movement invites you to explore and respond to how Jesus is tugging at your heart. While the season of Lent calls us all into a particular period of reflection, we choose different journeys. Depending upon where we are in our own seasons of life and faith, we may be called into a time of deep introspection, contemplation, and prayer. Perhaps God is calling us to an outward focus on works of mercy. Or maybe we need a time of formation, to connect our hearts and minds as we walk in love.

We offer three broad paths built around the Way of Love, the Presiding Bishop’s call for practices that support a Jesus-centered life. Each path suggests a primary resource as well as numerous others that expand on the central theme. We offer these as guideposts, as trail markers, knowing and hoping that you will choose your own path during this Lent, and in doing so, make a choice to choose Jesus.

Learn more and choose your Lenten path here.

Meeting Jesus on the Margins: Ash Wednesday

2381 Meeting Jesus on the Margins

One of our most powerful meditation resources this Lent is Meeting Jesus on the Margins: Meditations on Matthew 25.

These reflections look at Jesus’ mission with the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned—the marginalized.

Today, Ash Wednesday, we’re posting the first reflection from the volume, written by Mike Kinman. It’s part of a first section that focuses on the matter of hunger in its myriad forms. We hope you find meaning in Mike’s words, and share them as you see fit.

 


 

February 10 Ash Wednesday

Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith. —The Book of Common Prayer, pp. 264-5

The simplest question is the most useful: Why?

We need always to be asking “Why?” and not letting our quickest answers, which are most deeply rooted in our prejudices, be our final answer.

When we see someone using the steps of a public library as a bed at night, we need to ask “Why?”

When we read a story about a transgender teenager committing suicide, we need to ask “Why?”

When we go into a grocery store in an impoverished neighborhood and see a fully stocked liquor shelf and no fresh produce, we need to ask “Why?”

When we learn we incarcerate a higher percentage of our citizens than any nation in the world, we need to ask “Why?”

When we see young people of color burn down the Quik Trip convenient store in Ferguson, Missouri, we need to ask “Why?”

And as we embark on our Lenten journey, we need to ask “Why?”

Our first answer, rooted in what we’ve always been taught, might be that we observe Lent as an exercise in self-flagellation, so that, in Paul’s words, we might not “think of ourself more highly than we ought” (Romans 12:3). We might think our Lenten observance is grounded in our unworthiness. But we need to dig deeper.

The prayer at the beginning of our Ash Wednesday liturgy gives us the answer. We observe a holy Lent to remember Jesus’ gospel of “pardon and absolution.” Lent is not about confession and repentance as punishment but as a profound, grace-filled unburdening so that we might encounter the living Christ in all Christ’s abundant joy.

This book sets our Lenten journey in that context of meeting Christ…meeting Christ right where he tells us he will be…in the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the prisoner. It is a journey of seeing all those people as Jesus. Of asking “Why?” and not being satisfied by our first answer. Of realizing that those whom the world of power and privilege label as “them” are really the deepest and most sacred portion of “us.”

—Mike Kinman

Click here to get a copy of Meeting Jesus on the Margins, or to download the book to your e-reader.