Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has asked all members of the Episcopal Church, all of us who belong, as he says so often, to the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, to commit ourselves to The Way of Love -- seven spiritual practices for a Jesus-centered life. This is not a new program, but rather an ancient way of life, drawn from the deepest wells of the Christian faith.
The seven spiritual practices of the Way of Love are:
Turn: every day, to intentionally turn toward Jesus, committing ourselves to follow him.
Learn: every day, to read passages from Scripture and other spiritual texts, with particular focus on Jesus’ teachings and the stories of his life.
Pray: every day, to set aside time--it needn’t be long--for intentional prayer, allowing God to speak in our heart.
Worship: to gather, once a week, around Jesus’ table in Christian community.
Bless: to choose, every day, to offer blessing, to be a blessing to those we meet, consciously loving as Jesus loves, forgiving as Jesus forgives.
Go: to venture out, stretching ourselves to be present in places where there is great need, or where others see the world differently. This is the call to justice and mercy, with a heart willing to be sent where God’s love is needed most or where we have something important to learn.
Rest: to remember that our souls and bodies need rest, that as God rested on the 7th day of creation, so we are to rest, in order to be strengthened and renewed.
This summer, I’m setting aside time to plan for a year’s worth of preaching, teaching and writing on the Way of Love and related spiritual themes. So that I might better align my preaching and writing to the spiritual questions of greatest importance to you, I ask for your feedback. Would you please take a few minutes to answer the following questions?
Which of these 7 practices come easily to you? What resources have you found to help you in your practice?
Which of the 7 practices do you most struggle with? What questions and concerns would you like me, as your bishop, to address?
On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate your ease with reading the Bible? What questions do you have about our biblical texts? What would help you go deeper with Scripture?
What societal issues are of greatest concern for you? How would like to see us, as a Church, respond?
Thinking about members of your family or circle of friends, what spiritual or life topics might I address that could be of value for them?
You may email your responses directly to me. If there’s anything else you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you.
May God bless us as we strive to walk in the ways of Jesus, which is the way of love.
Author: The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde