Love Your Neighbor

Dearly Beloved,

What a joyous celebration we had on Sunday as Mya and Jeslyn were confirmed into full membership in our congregation. We are so blessed by their wisdom, creativity, curiosity and compassion! For their affirmations of faith, Mya played the First Movement of the Handel Sonata No. 3 in F Major and Jeslyn hand crocheted a bouquet that included 3 tulip blossoms (yellow, blue and pink) and 3 sprigs of lavender. If you did not get to read the statements they each prepared to accompany these Affirmations, please reach out to myself or Staci in the church office, and we'll get them to you! 

This coming Sunday, we will read from Leviticus 19:1-18. These are instructions for how to live in community together. Like the 10 Commandments found in Exodus 20, these instructions are clear. Yet, I find these in Leviticus to offer something deeper than what we find in Exodus 20. In addition to being a moral code, they mention specifically how we are to act in order to ensure that the poor and the immigrant are provided for. They offer instructions for enacting justice, caring for those who have special needs (specifically mentioning the blind and deaf), avoiding the complicity of silence and holding one another accountable for our behavior. 

This code of conduct found in Leviticus grounds itself in the understand that we are to be holy as God is holy (verse 2). In my words, we are called to embody the divine spark within each of us. The passage closes with an instruction that we Christians often forget comes from the Torah: "You must love your neighbor as yourself."

Now, we are all familiar with the challenges of being loving community together. After all, we've lived through the last two presidential election cycles. The division and discord at the national level sometimes feels insurmountable. Even conflict within the close-knit community of our congregation or family can threaten to tear us apart. These verses from Leviticus remind me that we often need to be explicit about our expectations of one another -- we need to avoid assuming that we are all on the same page about how to be in community together. According to our scriptures, even God doesn't assume that!

I'm pleased to share that our congregation's Executive Board has been hard at work on a document to outline some of these expectations so that we may covenant with one another -- so that we may commit -- to specific ways of being together that center us on love, create safe spaces for people's authentic selves to show up, and that tend beloved community around, between, among and within us. More to come! 

Finally, just a reminder that our Trunk or Treat is THIS Saturday (October 29) from 5:00-7:00. It's not too late to bring your car and hand treats out from your trunk. You can contact Dana Stanke with any questions. AND if you don't feel up to bringing your car, we welcome people of all ages and stages to dress up and come enjoy being church together! 

Holding you in peace and love,