I was out on study leave last week for an “intensive” study toward my DMin (Doctor of Ministry) track in Public Theology at Drew University. It was very intense, hence the name.
We met at Middle Collegiate Church in the City. Very cool East Village neighborhood with a lot of life and energy. This church is on fire!
Middle is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-orientation, multi-faith, multi-everything church! They have about 1200 members and their worship is almost exactly like ours (add some bells and whistles you get with a big budget) with the same energy, variety, and diversity of elements. They’ve got bigger numbers, but it was so chill. So comfortable. Felt like home!
Middle has a Sesame Street-like puppet thing for the “Message for All Ages” like our “Young People’s Message.” They did “Blackbird” from the Beatles with a liturgical dancer that was so moving. The closing song was “How Deep Is Your Love?”—yes, the Bee Gees. You know I was fired up!
The whole intensive was framed by the “Revolutionary Love 2019” conference. It’s an annual gathering of interfaith public theologians from a number of traditions: Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Unitarian Universalism, for example, and of course Christianity. The faith spectrum is deep and wide!
It was just over-the-top incredible!
As I heard speaker after speaker share their ministries and prayers of justice, inclusion, care for the oppressed, the marginalized, the “least of these,” I was touched to my soul. I was inspired. I was moved. It was like Pentecostal moment after Pentecostal moment…the tongues of fire pealed through the room!
The Spirit is on fire!
And the common thread is true love.
Love is something we all share in common no matter our faith tradition. We’re all about love. All of us. Love of God (or whatever label we use), love of neighbor, love of community, love of self.
How do we love each other?
How do we do for each other?
How do we live it out?
It’s the “New Commandment” right out of Jesus in John 13: 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
What’s that look like? More important—what’s that feel like?
Well, stick around and watch what happens!
There’s a recommitment brewing in our church. A rededication to our vision to see lives transformed through intentional relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s all about love. It’s bigger than you and me. It’s deep. It’s wide. It’s profound.
Your session is committed. I am committed. And you too are committed. It shows.
Jump in and watch what happens!
The Spirit is on fire!
The Spirit is kicking us around!
And it’s all about love.
Grace & Peace,