I believe that God is love -- not a person. Not a being. Not an entity that can think and act in any way that would be familiar to us human beings. I believe that God is love. Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8).
I read and interpret scripture through the lens of the great commandment: to love God with all that we are and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 10:25-28, John 13:31-35).
Part of my practice of ministry is meeting monthly with a spiritual director. One of my spiritual director's recent invitations to me has been to articulate what I understand my call to be. Now you may be surprised that it's not "to preach, teach and proclaim the Gospel" or "to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth."
Instead, my call is all about my relationship with divine Love (God) and helping others relate to divine Love. Notice that this is a call that I can live out no matter what my vocation. It is a call that impacts my professional, personal and communal life.
My call, as I am coming to articulate it, is something like:
I am called to witness to divine Love.
I am called to invite others into experiences of divine Love
and to empower them into expressions of divine Love.
What does it mean to witness to divine Love?
Honestly, I don't always know. That's why prayer is important. And listening. And staying humble. What I do know is that love does not harm my neighbor. So witnessing to divine Love means speaking and acting in ways that promote the well-being of my neighbor, acting in ways that do not harm my neighbor. Perhaps that's why Cornell West says that "Justice is what love looks like in public." Or, to paraphrase the prophet Micah, witnessing to divine Love means doing justice, loving kindness and practicing humility (Micah 6:8).
This week's readings from Romans offers insight into what it means to witness to divine Love:
- being sincere
- holding on to what is good
- showing honor to others
- serving God with energy and passion
- rejoicing in hope, being patient in suffering, persevering in prayer
- contributing to the needs of others
- welcoming strangers into my home
- blessing people who harass me
- practicing humility
- laughing and rejoicing with those who rejoice; weeping and mourning with those who mourn
Love is the fulfillment of all biblical law. It is the measure of God's presence and of goodness. For me, it is the center of my call.
What about you? What call has God placed in your life?
You certainly don't need to be in ministry to have a call! Perhaps God has called you to help people express themselves (whether through art or language). Perhaps God has called you to delight in and care for creation. Perhaps God has called you to connect people to one another in care and compassion. Perhaps God has called you to seek justice. Perhaps God has called you to practice and share joy and play. Perhaps God has called you to nourish people's bodies.
What call has God placed in your life? How is divine Love shining through you?
With love and grace,