Exploring God's gift of forgiveness and new life

 

An interview with Amy Boucher Pye, this year's Lent book author.

As we move from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day, Amy's book The Living Cross offers daily reflections and prayers to help us experience the living power of the cross of Christ through biblical and modern-day stories of wrongdoing and forgiveness.

Why is Lent a good time to pick up a book?
I’ve found Lent a wonderful time to come before God and examine my heart and my actions. In doing so, I’ve found that it became a rich season of intimacy with God. I hope that, if people pick up The Living Cross, they too will find their relationship with the Lord strengthened as they engage with biblical stories from the Old Testament and the New.

What drew you to writing about forgiveness?
The germ of the idea for a book on forgiveness came back in 2006 when I read an article in the Telegraph about the late Jill Saward’s act of forgiving her attackers. Instead of being shackled with bitterness, she campaigned for the good of other rape survivors. I wanted to explore the biblical roots of this freeing topic and to find other inspiring stories to share.

What made you decide to include both Old and New Testament readings?
I love the richness and wisdom of the Hebrew scriptures! And I wonder if sometimes we shy away from them, preferring to stay in the New Testament. So I set myself the challenge of delving into both, for I wanted to share how God’s story of forgiveness pulses throughout his word.

Are there any stories that you find particularly powerful?
I think my very favourite one is the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11–32—here we see not only God’s grace that he pours out on the younger son, but the daily grace he lavishes on the older brother. I love reading the stories of Old Testament characters such as Abraham, Moses and David, and how the Lord used them mightily even though any recounting of their sins would be great—including two out of the three of them being (in effect) murderers. When God through his Son imparts forgiveness to us, he sets us free from our past wrongs. 

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What was the biggest challenge of writing this book?
I was in my first year of an MA in Christian Spirituality at Heythrop College, University of London, when I started writing this book, so I was juggling reading some of the greats such as Bernard of Clairveaux and Teresa of Avila while focusing on the theme of forgiveness in the biblical text. Although it was a rich time of juggling, I’m afraid I dropped a few balls!

What impact could The Living Cross have? 
I hope The Living Cross will be a vehicle for readers to deepen their faith in God. Daily reading of the scriptures not only enlarges our awareness of God’s work in history but, through it, his Holy Spirit speaks to us. I’d love for people to hear from God as they read, whether through the biblical text, the modern-day stories, the questions for reflection or the spiritual exercises. I’d be thrilled if, through this book, they could embrace the gift of forgiveness and new life. 

Throughout Lent, we'll be posting shareables on social media. What was your motivation for doing this? 
We live in a visual world, and social media is here to stay. Some people bemoan the lack of true friendships today because of social media, but if we engage carefully and intentionally, we can find lasting friendship online. I hope that these shareables—an image and a quotation from The Living Cross (examples on the right)—will encourage and inspire people as they scroll through their feeds. 

And finally, are there three things that you would encourage people to do this Lent?

  1. Read The Living Cross. I had to say that, didn’t I?!
  2.  Approach the season with an attitude of grace. If you eat chocolate when you said you wouldn’t, or miss a day of your Bible reading, don’t despair—and don’t give up!
  3. Trust that God will meet you in the season, whether you are fasting from something or adding an act of grace. As you draw near to him, he will run towards you.

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Get involved

Buy a copy of The Living Cross at BRFonline

Follow the shareables campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and share the Lent images with friends and family. We'll be using #thelivingcross throughout.