Faith is a Verb... Musings by Pastor Tony May 4, 2018

I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about love lately. God is Love. Paul wrote, “Faith, hope, and love abide; the greatest of these is Love.” Jesus tells us the two great commandments are to love the Lord your God, and to love your neighbor as yourself, which make up the two stained glass windows at the front of our sanctuary. Based on that, the UCC has named a new Vision Statement: “United in Christ’s love, a just world for all,” and has also taken on a new campaign called the 3 Great Loves: Love of Creation, Love of Children, Love of Neighbor. This story-telling campaign is asking churches to send in stories about ways they are already living into this vision.

in  Christianity in a Nutshell, Brazilian Liberation theologian and mystic Leonardo Boff writes that the Trinity--that mathematical conundrum at the heart of Christianity—is so intertwined as to be a single source—Mystery, a single energy-being he calls God-communion-love. Starting with time-before-time, in that instant just before the Big Bang, the Mystery fluctuated rapidly between particles and energy, particles bursting forth in bright sparkles and then resorbed back into an ocean of energy that is source to all, a “Loving Abyss, Nurturer of All, Originating Source of all Being,” which expanded in the Big Bang to create the entire universe. In other words, the entire universe is created out of an infinite supply of Love.[1] We are part of this Creation, carrying that originating energy of the Big Bang in our bodies, formed from the Loving Abyss. Our formational energy is love.

 In All About Love: New Visions, bell hooks states that love is not an innate feeling that we instinctively know what to do with; instead love is an action, or series of actions, that we must learn and practice. Love is an outward action, an expansion of self, for the spiritual growth of yourself or someone else, and hooks enumerates and then expands on the skills needed to practice love: care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, trust, and open and honest communication.[2]  Love is not a mushy feeling that makes us moon over a romantic interest. Not unlike our “Faith is a verb,” love is an action, it calls us to action, and can only occur when respect, trust, honesty are present.

In our garden-themed spring worship, we are celebrating our respect, commitment, and love of Creation. We will continue that at least through May 20, Pentecost Sunday, when we will dedicate our new landscaping in an outdoor worship service followed by a potluck meal. Please bring a side or dessert to share. And wear Pentecostal picnic clothes!

 May you love God so much, you love nothing else too much.        Peace, Pastor Tony

[1] Leonardo Boff, Christianity in a Nutshell, Phillip Berryman, transl. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2013). Quote is from pg. 10.

[2] bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions, (NY: William Morrow, 2001).