Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Where is the love?

Christians should be revolutionaries. Our entire faith starts with a change of mind and a change of path to a new direction. We are new creations; old things have passed away and new things have come (2 Cor. 5: 17). The gospel itself is all about transformation—change. We should be the ones bringing a revolution of heart to the world. Instead, we spend our time debating theological stances, moral codes, and political issues.(Neil Cole: One Thing: A Revolution to Change the World with Love)

Recently, at a conference on Re-imagining the Reformation, I felt shallow when asked to define the most important element for reformation in the church today. Most folk made profound theological statements while I said, simply, that reformation arose out of love - when we love folk enough to want to change, beginning with ourselves.
Today, as I listened to a debate on future patterns of ministry in the Church of Scotland, I was again struck by the necessity and vitality of love. Until we love one another we cannot grow together. Love is what will see us through the difficult work of changing patterns and mindsets that are no longer serving God's kingdom
Yes, it calls for radical action.
Yes it calls for a review of education and ministry formation.
Yes it calls for new ways of working together, with God in God's mission.
But if we do not first learn to love one another, we cannot move forward with whatever new ways God reveals.
Often the most wounding encounters in ministry are with colleagues.
If stating the obvious and stripping things down to basics makes me shallow or makes me sound like a hippy, then those are charges I will gladly accept.
We've also heard a lot about getting back to basics and rediscovering ancient paths.
Form Jesus' command to love one another to Paul's pronouncement that the greatest of these is love, we have a gospel imperative and an apostolic encouragement to seek out love - in all things. Even in reshaping church for today.

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