The aim and vision to 'Be Loving' is rooted in Jesus’ command "Love the Lord your God... and love your neighbour as well as you do yourself" (Luke 10:27). It is further affirmed as John extols us “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7). More recent inspiration comes from Bishop Michael Curry's royal wedding sermon where he reminded us of the power of love.
Be Loving and what it means for the church. How the church and how we would live out that vision?
We are working with four strands that everything in the life of the church will (in theory) fall under. They are the measure by which we can judge if our activities and existence as a church is living out the vision of 'Be Loving'. The four strands are Walk Loving; Learn Loving; Live Loving; and Give Loving.
This relates to life personally and to the life of the church. It is about rhythm in life and church. A rhythm that sustains faith, a rhythm that sustains life, a rhythm that sustains 'Be Loving'. For church, it is about establishing a rhythm of regular services and the pattern of festivals throughout the year. A rhythm of song, worship, prayer, scriptures, listening and seeking God's kingdom. Personally, rhythm is an important sustainer of faith in God. A rhythm of spending time focussed on God whether through active worship, daily prayer time or grabbing a few moments of stillness, being with and open to God in whatever way we can in the busyness of life. Seeking out a rhythm that works for us is important, as is accepting that just as we get it sorted, life changes will probably mean seeking out a new rhythm!
Again this relates to life personally and to the life of the church. It is about a commitment to having an open mind to learning. To acknowledge that we don't know it all and that there is always something more to learn about our faith and living it. As a church it is about providing learning opportunities and training. As individuals it is about taking up those opportunities if we are able. This could be learning more about the Bible, a study day, practical training on safeguarding, or learning more about for example, the environment, fair-trade or the developing world.
How does this apply to us personally and as a church. It is about how we live in our community and how our church is living in the community. It is about us having a positive attitude, being welcomers, encouragers, listeners and enablers. It is about the things we do as a church in the community and how we communicate that. It is about how we join in with community events and how we work in partnership with others for the wellbeing of the community. To 'Live Loving' is to show and share God's love.
To give is a response to being loved. To want to give something back. This again applies to both the church and to us personally. So that raises the question of how and in what ways can both the church and we personally Give Loving.
What can the church give?
What can we give?
Amongst other possible answers, we can give our time, our skills and our money. Sometimes just taking the time to listen to somebody, family or friend, is giving. Helping someone out practically, volunteering to help at church or elsewhere is giving of our skills. Donating to charity, good causes or the church is giving of our money.
One way in which the church can give is to support it's members in giving any of the above.