We are about to enter the fourth year of Living Our Faith. In the first year, the emphasis was on prayer. In the second year, we joined together in Bible Book Clubs. This past year we have been trying to increase our devotional lives. And now we enter the year of love.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry of The Episcopal Church refers to the life of following Jesus as the Way of Love. Indeed, as you read the gospels, you follow a trail of encounters between Jesus and individuals where Jesus acts out the love he has from God and the love he has for people.
When Jesus heals the sick—the ten lepers, the paralytic, the blind man, the bent-over woman, the woman with an issue of blood—he is showing love. When Jesus joins people at table or feeds them as he does the five thousand—he is showing love.
When Jesus points out the importance of generosity as he does with the rich young man or the widow who gives her all—he is showing love. When Jesus preaches and teaches about God’s will to liberate those who are oppressed—he is showing love.
When Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan, he is teaching us how to love—first by using the Samaritan, an outsider, as the person who cares for the neighbour, and secondly by telling us to go and do likewise.
When Jesus tells the story of the sheep and goats, and reminds us that by giving water and food and clothes and companionship we are doing those things to him —he is showing us how to love.
For Jesus, love is not a touchy-feely emotion. Love is shown in concrete actions of generosity and service, especially to those who are the most vulnerable and the most oppressed.
This coming year, September 2022 to the end of August 2023, we will be looking at examples of how to love. You are invited to think about how you show your love to God and neighbour in not just words but also in action. We will be following Jesus in his way of love.
In the musical Godspell there is a song: “Day by day, day by day, oh dear Lord three things I pray. To see you more clearly, love you more dearly, follow you more nearly, day by day.” That is what we are going to do!
As we Love, we will continue to Pray, Read and Worship. I am looking forward to being on this journey with you, together, as we continue Living Our Faith.
Rev. Susan Johnson