Between Sundays for Week of June 27, 2022
Paul writes to the Galatians: For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
As followers of Jesus, we know we are called to love God and to love our neighbor. While we are tempted to take the easy way out, the Spirit gives us the courage and faith to stay the course. Still, the question remains: how do we best love our neighbor?
Every day, we are confronted with news that invites us to respond with love for our neighbors. Whether it’s the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the latest incident of gun violence or hate crimes, the war in Ukraine, people who follow Jesus must ask: how do we best love our neighbor…who is pregnant or scared…whose skin color or religion makes them a target of violence…who aren’t safe in their homes?
The links above begin to offer some answers to those questions. We reflect deeply and prayerfully together about complicated issues like abortion. We show up with communities who have experienced violence, offering food and resources and our very presence to remind them that they aren’t alone. We advocate for those whose voices are dismissed or ignored. We send money. We offer prayers.
And we listen. Loving our neighbors starts with listening. Honoring the stories and experiences of others, even (or especially!) when they are different from our own. We love our neighbors when we honor their voice and their truth, when we see them in their full humanity. Please know that Pastor Amy and I are always available to listen and to pray.
Guided by the Spirit, we will love our neighbors so that the world might know the height and depth and breadth of God’s love for us all.
Pastor Hoffman compares Jesus’ determination to fulfill his mission and go to Jerusalem with the thrill ride of life in this world. While we would rather take the “chicken exit” and look for the easy way out, we are guided by the Spirit to face our fears, take some risks, and endure some scary, gut-wrenching moments to fulfill Jesus’ commandment and our mission to love our neighbors as ourselves.
When Julian of Norwich was about thirty years old, Julian (or Juliana) reported visions that she later compiled into a book, Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love, now a classic of medieval mysticism and thought to be the first book authored in English by a woman. The visions declared that love was the meaning of religious experience, provided by Christ who is love, for the purpose of love. She writes, “But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that is needed by me, answered with these words and said: ‘It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’