Living the Way of Love

In the fall of 2018, I did a sermon series at Resurrection Church Called “The Way of Love: Practice for a Jesus-Centered Life.”  The series was based on Presiding Bishop Curry’s invitation to the Episcopal Church to explore various practices each day that would help us live a life of love as Jesus taught.  During that time, we also used the study for the basis of our “Food and Faith” conversation- a monthly gathering that takes place at the Panera Bread in Hermitage.

As part of the invitation to live the way of love, Bishop Curry used seven words and seven Scripture passages as the basis for the “Way of Love.”  The words are Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest and Turn. Each one when lived out and practiced in daily life could help us live a life modeled on Jesus and embody the love that he brought to this world through his life, death and resurrection.

Each week during the sermon series, we looked at each word and a Scripture passage that connected with that word.  We asked the questions, how does the world connect us to God’s love and if lived out how can this practice help us live as Jesus lived and love as Jesus loves us?  I found the sermon series to be very powerful and practical. As we got further into the series, I saw my own life and the life of Resurrection Church being shaped by these words and by the daily practice that drew us closer to God’s love. The practical takeaways were amazing.

The more we learn about Jesus’ life the more we can live like him.  The stronger our prayer lives become, the more we can be filled with God’s love and in turn love others. As we turn away from our own sin, we can turn toward the life God has called us to live and to be an example of his love in the communities we live and work.

For those who are interested in trying out the way of love, I first recommend checking out “The Way of Love” material at the Episcopal Church website:

https://www.episcopalchurch.org/way-of-love

The site gives great information about the Way of Love and resources you can use to read, experience and live the practices each day.  What I encouraged Resurrection Church to do is to think about that week’s word each day and to read the Scripture passage throughout the week.  Let it become part of your devotional time or your daily prayer life. What does each appointed word mean for you in your life? How can that word draw you closer to God in a way that connects you to the love of God?  How can those words be turned into daily and weekly practices that help you experience God’s love and then live out that love in your community?

Give “The Way of Love” a try and see how the practices change your life and how God’s love becomes more real each and every day.

As Bishop Curry is famous for saying, “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God!”

The Rev. Jason Shank is the priest of Resurrection Church in Hermitage. 

Life Transformed: The Way of Love in Lent and Easter

This release originally appeared at the Episcopal News Service site on January 18, 2019.

The journey through Lent into Easter is a journey with Jesus. We are baptized into his life, self-giving and death; then we rise in hope to life transformed. This Lent, faith communities are invited to walk with Jesus in his Way of Love and into the experience of transformed life.New Way of Love resources for Lent and Easter include three components; additional resources from partnering organizations and churches are also featured:     

Adult Forum: This set of seven Adult Forums, suitable to diverse settings, ties the Easter Vigil readings to the seven practices of the Way of Love. Drawing on the ancient practice of setting aside Lent as a period of study and preparation for living as a Christian disciple (known as the catechumenate), the forums draw participants to reflect on salvation history, walk toward the empty tomb, and embrace the transforming reality of love, life, and liberation. As we stand with the three women at the empty tomb, we hear his call to go and live that transformed reality. Curriculum will be available in Spanish before the end of this month. (Format: Digital download, available here.)     

Quiet Day: The Quiet Day curriculum condenses the forums into a single-day journey. Offered as an option for churches and dioceses seeking an alternative to the weekly class. (Format: Digital download, available here.)

Test Kitchen: “Living the Way of Love, Transformed.” After the forty days of Lent, this Facebook-based platform will invite participants into a fifty-day Eastertide “Test Kitchen.” People everywhere will actively “GO” with Jesus from the tomb to bless the world – and then share and inspire each other with accounts of how they are living the Way of Love. Consider joining this closed Facebook group now to receive regular messages of support as you live the way of love through Lent. (Format: Multiple platforms, including Facebook group with daily prompts, available here.)

Resources shared by partnering organizations and churches:

     Way of Love resources from Church Publishing, Inc. (CPI) include Living the Way of
Love,
a 40-day devotional by Mary Bea Sullivan, along their recently published Little
Books of Guidance – one for each of the seven Way of Love practices.

Coming in early February are a series of sermons based on the Year C lectionary readings
offered by St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania as well as video
classes that track with the Life Transformed curriculum offered by The Hive.

Additional seasonal resources include:
Ashes to Go Resources
Daily Devotionals from d365
Episcopal Relief & Development’s Lenten Meditations
Lent Madness
Living Compass: Living Well Through Lent
Living the Way of Love: A 40-Day Devotional
Sermons That Work for Lent (available in English and Spanish)
United Thank Offering Lenten Calendar

If your ministry has developed a seasonal Way of Love offering, please share at wayoflove@episcopalchurch.org. We’d love to feature it on the website and pray for our shared journey into new life.

Explore the Way. Start a small group. Follow Jesus. Let God’s love transform you and your ministry. Find resources for every liturgical season here:  www.episcopalchurch.org/wayoflove.