The life of a disciple, the syllabus for one who would sit at the feet of the Great Teacher, the prescription for people of faith to follow, Jesus sums it all up in two deceptively simple commandments: Love God, Love Neighbor. All three of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), the gospels which were written closest in time to Jesus’ earthly ministry, report this important teaching of Jesus. The life of one claimed by God’s grace will reflect deep love of God and deep love of neighbor. The mystery of these commandments is that though they appear separate and distinct, they are deeply intertwined. We cannot love God deeply and fully without having our hearts and hands turned out in love to the neighbor. We cannot love neighbor deeply and fully without finding in her the Lord who created her in God’s own image, without seeing in him the redeemer who gave all for him.
I invite you to read this newsletter today with the question in your mind, “How will I rededicate myself this fall to love my God? To love my neighbor?” In these pages are many invitations to deepen your love and discipleship through study, worship, song and service of many kinds. Does your heart sing when you hear music – try one of our choirs for a season and deepen your connection with the divine by making music. Do you love the joy-filled, authentic voices, questions, surprises of children, talk to Mary Maleski about opportunities on Sundays and Wednesdays for working with children. Do you tremble at the state of our nation and community – eager to love the stranger who is your neighbor? Attend the adult education book study, Waking Up White. Join the Outreach committee or get involved with one of their events. Volunteer locally with one of our partners in ministry: Better Beginnings or RISE, or with others engaged in the community. Start with our “What can I do?” page on the church website.
I want to extend one of my own. For those interested in digging a little deeper in the context of a small group, I will be leading two “Deepening Discipleship” small groups this fall. The first will meet Monday evenings from 7 to 8:30, September 18 through October 16. The second will meet Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 7, and will include a simple supper. This group will meet starting Thursday, October 26 and ending November 30th (skipping Thanksgiving). Meetings will include scripture, prayer and conversation about our lives of faith. Please let me know if you are interested or have questions. Groups will be limited to no more than 8 folks who are willing to commit to attending all 5 meetings.
So, good disciples, we are invited once again this fall to embrace God’s grace and invite the Holy Spirit to renew our commitment to faithfully follow as one of Jesus Christ’s disciples, and together as a community of disciples. How will you let the Spirit work in you to nurture and grow your love of God and love of neighbor this season?