It was great to gather with the Blvd Abbey community last Sunday night, the first Sunday of Lent. We heard everyone share their stories and perspectives; as well as just listening in silence, singing, and speaking words of prayer and blessing together. We discussed the idea of giving something up for the season of Lent, creating space in our lives to take up a simple practice as a community. This Lent, our community is going to spend regular time meditating on, and trying to live out the words of Mark 12:30-31. One biblical scholar even calls this ‘The Jesus Creed,’ because daily meditation on this was a simple spiritual rhythm that was likely part of Jesus’ life.
“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
The words of theologian Stanley Hauerwas resonated with a lot of our community, “God doesn’t want to be believed in, God wants to be loved.” And the reminder that, before we can ever learn what it means to “love the Lord your God,” we have to receive God’s love. Receiving is hard for many of us! But this is about more than a to-do list, it is about being open to God. It is about remembering that God is the source and initiator of love. “Love comes from God,” and “we love because he first loved us (1 John 4:7, 19).”
We were challenged to hear that when some of us say ‘love,’ what we really mean is ‘power.’ We want to do things for God and for others, where we can control (or think we can) the results, and get what we want in return. Being open to, receiving, and allowing God’s love to transform us often feels like a big risk! But it’s where we must start.
So as we meditate on ‘The Jesus Creed,’ remember it’s not just about asking ‘how am I learning to love,’ but first of all ‘how am I letting God’s love in?’ And then, ‘how am I allowing that love to overflow to others?’
Join us in our 40 days of meditation on the Jesus Creed. Whether you do this practice daily, weekly, or whatever works for you… it’s not too late to start.
And come to our community dinner on Sunday night, March 3, to share and hear Lenten stories.