Tag Archives: reconciliation

Forward Today: Healing in a time of division

Dear friends in Christ,

Last Sunday, our Gospel reading reminded us that we are judged not only for our actions, but also for what’s in our hearts. It’s not enough to get through the week without killing someone (though we surely must avoid murder!). If we are filled with anger, we are liable to judgement (Mt 5:21-22).

If you spend much time watching cable news or surveying social media, it’s pretty clear there’s a lot of anger in our society. In some ways, it’s understandable. We are more aware of divisions than we might have been a few years ago. And some divisions are widening. It’s easy to blame others, to become angry in our grief, or to resent it when people point out the ways we might benefit from our own position. There are lots of reasons to be angry.

What are we to do? Separating ourselves from those who are different will neither keep us safe nor will it lead to reconciliation. If we’re going to reconcile, we’ll need to sort out how to be in relationship. To that end, Forward Movement has just released, in partnership with the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations and the Faith Formation department, an online ChurchNext course called “Make Me an Instrument of Peace: A Guide to Civil Discourse”. It’s a free, five-part course covering civil discourse in context, tenets for civil discourse, values-based conversations, the complexities of policy, and sacred space for debate. The course is available for individuals or groups.

I hope you’ll check it out. We also offer the free resource No Longer Strangers: Exploring Immigration Issues.

Now, I should note that the Bible makes it pretty clear that there is a place for righteous anger. Sometimes when people call for “civility” it is a way to keep the marginalized at the margins. Righteous anger speaks the truth in love, and it comes from a place of concern for others. When I speak of keeping our hearts free of anger, we’re talking about the anger that wells up in us and prevents us from loving God and loving our neighbors.

As Lent approaches, I encourage us all to look in our own hearts. Are we leaving room for adoration of God, or are we filled with anger? Are we ready to practice reconciliation? Are we ready to speak the truth in love as we love our neighbors?

Lord, have mercy upon us. Lord, give us peace in our time.

Yours faithfully,



Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Image: The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations

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

Saint 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

Forward Today: Finding grace on a sidewalk

Dear friends in Christ,

A couple of days ago, I happened to glance down while I was walking my dog. There, on the sidewalk, was a message of grace. “I forgive you.”

I don’t know who wrote this or why. Was someone hoping another person would see the message? Was it a written declaration by someone hoping that their intentions to forgive another would be more real if only the words were written out? Was it intended for a passer-by like me? Whatever the reason or the circumstance, there’s something tender about this declaration.

Forgiveness is at the heart of the Gospel. God forgives us our many sins, and we are meant to pass on that forgiveness to those around us. “Forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It’s about mercy and grace, something that’s in short supply in this world of ours. Scorekeeping and gotchas are the currency of our age, so to forgive another is a subversive act.

Forgiving does not make the call for justice vanish. And of course, forgiving is not forgetting. Those tender words of forgiveness on a sidewalk do not imply that something has been forgotten, but rather that it has been forgiven. If someone hurts me, the sting of whatever has been done may not vanish quickly and it may never heal completely. But I have a choice of whether or not to hang on to my anger. Forgiveness is a gift to another, but it also frees us. Being merciful is itself an act of grace that makes real God’s gracious love in and for us. We humans are made to be generous, and when we live that way, we see glimpses of God’s gracious love for us and for all people.

I’m so glad someone wrote those three words on a sidewalk. I’m glad for their sake that one person has forgiven another. And I’m glad for my sake that I was given a small opportunity to contemplate the wonder of God’s great mercy and love for me and my call to be merciful and gracious to others.

I know I have some work to do in my heart. Sometimes forgiving is much easier said than done. Who do you need to forgive?

Yours faithfully,



Scott Gunn
Executive Director

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