The Way of Love GOby Fr. Joe Hudson on June 19, 2020
My dear Good Shepherd family,
It is appropriate as I prepare this week’s Way of Love letter on the practice of “Going,” - of evangelism, that I start by commenting on the Candlelight Vigil in Venice.
This event was organized solely by St. Marks Episcopal Church. I believe I can speak for that parish in saying their intent was to be bear witness to the light in the midst of our nations darkness; specifically the darkness seen in the violent death of George Floyd, and so many others across our country.
It came to the attention of St. Marks staff that the democratic club of Venice took sponsorship of St. Marks event. Because of this, Peter, on behalf of St. Marks sent out this notice to their parish family:
As the Good Shepherd Church, we cannot co/sponsor, or back any event that is organized by any one political party, as there are people of all political persuasions, and no political persuasion among us. You may choose as an individual to attend this event simply as a witness to the light, or you may choose not to attend based on the democratic club’s choice to take this event on. I trust the Spirit if God’s leading you in this matter.
Having commented on this upcoming event, let me step back and tie this event into the Way of Love, and today’s practice of “Going.”
The word “go” is not a passive word. It is an active word. It takes action. Just as love demanded and compelled Jesus to take action in so many controversial ways in his day, love demands and compels us as followers of the Christ to not be passive and keep silent, but to take action as well.
In Jesus life that looked like turning water into wine at a friends wedding so that that friend could save face. It looked like calling the blind man to come to him so that he could heal him. Love caused Jesus to teach and preach so that God’s rule could be birthed in his world. It looked like weeping at the tomb of a friend in the face of death. It looked like an angry shout condemning the religious and political oppression and hypocrisy around him.
So where does love compel us to “go” as a parish? It compels us to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. It compels us to care and provide for a parishioner who is suffering. It actively goes out to share the Good News of God’s love with our neighbors. Love compels us to stop sitting with our friends during coffee hour so we can get to know someone else, or sit with a visitor.
What does “going” in the Way of Love look like to you as an individual? It may look like bringing a meal to a neighbor with cancer. It may compel you to listen to the heart struggles of someone down the block, and then sharing with them the hope you have found in God. Love may compel you to attend a Vigil as a witness to the Light. It may send you out in new ways: to march, to protest, to love, to weep and grieve at a friends loss.
When Jesus path of love becomes more and more naturally our Way of Love, we will find it harder and harder as days and weeks and months go by, to remain silent. We may find ourselves singing more loudly and with joy during the liturgy. We may find ourselves more naturally loving those around us. We may find ourselves becoming the kind of person who writes to their congressman, attends a protest, writes a poem, grieves, speaks out, loves fiercely and passionately.
May we GO in love.
Your brother +Joe