Beginning this Tuesday, we will be spending seven weeks in The Way of Love: A Practical Guide to Following Jesus by the Rev. Scott Gunn. Jesus tells us that all of Scripture and all of God’s commands hang on only two requirements: Love God and Love your Neighbor. Matt. 22:37-39. Or as John tells us – God is love, and when we love we are of God, and when we do not love we are not of God. 1 John 4:7-12. As John goes on to write: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” In looking at these verses, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry says we are part of the Jesus Movement that is “built on the unconditional love of God for the world and the mandate to live that love.” p.x. This book is the practical guide of cultivating certain ancient Christian practices so that we may live into that love and be the Jesus Movement to and in the world. These seven practices are: Turn. Learn. Pray. Worship. Bless. Go. Rest.
The first step in developing a Christian life is simply turning. We need to turn toward God and away from self-centeredness. The churchy word for turning is “repentance.” The very first teaching uttered by Jesus is “Repent.” Matt. 4:17. The Greek word is metanoia which literally means to “think differently afterward.” Repentance is not about saying we’re sorry, but about readjusting and reorienting and rethinking our lives. Who or what do we follow? If we are not following Jesus and if we are not following Jesus’ Way of Love, to paraphrase John, then we need to turn.
After his sermon on Pentecost, Peter tells the crowd that they must “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38. Two Thousand years later, our Baptismal Covenant also begins with this turning: “Q: Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior?” 1979 BCP 302. This question, however, only comes after three previous questions asking the candidate whether he renounces Satan, the evil powers of this world, and sinful desires. Baptism (and the renewal of baptismal vows) is the initial place of turning.
Turning, however, is never a one-and-done deal. The Christian life is one of repentance. It is one of constant turning. Turning is something that we do every day and in almost every moment of every day. Turning is a continuous exercise. Think about your life as a small boat trying to stay in a channel coming in from the ocean. There are currents, waves, and wind that continuously knock the boat off course. Our daily turning is simply us making those turns to keep us on course. This week, we will walk each other through how we can make these daily turns so that we can continue to live a Way of Love.
Holy Week Schedules:
Good Friday @ Noon
Easter Sunday in the chapel @ 10:30am
Good Friday @ 12:15pm (service) & 6 pm (John Rutter Requiem)
Easter Sunday @ 8, 9:30, and 11
Dinner is at 6. The menu is ham and pea lasagna. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here!
So you, by the help of your God, return,Hosea 12:6
hold fast to love and justice,
and wait continually for your God.