An Epistle from Linda+
Of all of the lines in the Beatles’ song, “All You Need is Love”, this is the one that sticks out for me.
All you need is love…it’s easy! “
Doesn’t it sometimes seem easier instead to grumble, or ignore, or snarl, or just give up than to show love? It’s easy to say that love is easy, but as Paul (the Apostle, not the Beatle) wrote in the letter to the Corinthians, love is not just a feeling, it’s a discipline for anyone in a loving relationship, whether it’s a romance, a family, or a community. Or even in a relationship with God. Paul wrote, “love is patient…kind… love is not boastful…irritable…resentful…does not seek its own way…It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. “
If it were easy, wouldn’t the world be a better place? Kinder? More compassionate? More honest? More just?
God loves us unconditionally, unreservedly, and irrevocably; we can trust in that. But the practice of responding lovingly to the love of God, and by extension loving our neighbor, is something that requires intention and discipline.
How can we develop and hone the discipline of loving God, our neighbor, ourselves, and God’s creation as Christ loves us?
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry made a big splash on both sides of the Atlantic last summer when he preached enthusiastically about love at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. He followed that up with the rollout at General Convention of The Way of Love; an initiative which is intended to challenge and invite “the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement,” as he calls us, to live into Jesus’ call to a lifelong journey of love, which is the foundation of our Christian faith.
To that end, the Presiding Bishop has identified seven spiritual practices which can help us along on the journey toward what he calls a Jesus-Centered Life:
Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest
Way of Love website
contains information and resources to guide churches in developing and nurturing these spiritual practices for individuals and communities.
In the Diocese of Rhode Island, the Congregational Development Commission (CDC) is supporting The Way of Love by offering mini grants over the next two years to congregations wanting to explore these practices. We will emphasize one of the spiritual practices every three months and invite parishes to consider how they would like to engage them. If this seems somewhat broad and less-than-concrete, that is the intention. This isn’t as much a program to be imposed upon the church, as it is seeds that are being sown so that they can bloom in the soil of each distinctive community.
On February 16th the CDC will begin the process of sowing the seeds of The Way of Love with a kickoff event at St. Mary’s Portsmouth from 8:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m.
Living the Way of Love: Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life is a morning of inspiration, worship, and creativity intended to stimulate ideas as to how to engage and explore the spiritual practices of the Way of Love, helping us to become better equipped to live into God’s Dream for us and for Creation.
I hope to see many St. Martin’s folks at St. Mary’s on the 16
: It’s easy!