From the Moderator: A reflection on the 2016 District Conference theme

Published on Oct 2nd, 2015 by wpd-office | 0

God is Love and love unites, not divides. We are One, our theme for District Conference 2016, comes from Galatians 3:28, which says “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

In this passage Paul writes that through the Christ, barriers of religion and culture no longer exist, economic and status barriers no longer exist and differentiation/hierarchy according to gender no longer exist. Through the Spirit of Christ there are no longer distinctions, no labels with which to separate and divide. Through the death of Jesus, Christ consciousness (love) has broken down and destroyed any imagined barriers that exist, we are truly one.

God is closer than we think, for within God we live and move and have our very being (Acts 17:28), and nothing has been created that did not come through this Divine Source of all Life (John 1:3)

In the words of James Finley, renowned spiritual leader and student of Thomas Merton,

I looked on Thomas Merton as the living embodiment of the mystical, contemplative heritage of my own Christian tradition; this ancient tradition is not simply about believing in Jesus, nor is it simply to live as Jesus lived—a life of love for God and for others. Beyond that, the Christian way is also a life in which we are called to follow Jesus in a process of self-emptying by which we come to realize that ultimately there is nothing real in us that is less or other than God’s infinite love, which is our life. In other words, we are called to realize the mind of Christ. That is, the mind of the boundless oneness of love—knowing that in the end, love alone remains. That God is love, and all that we really are is a manifestation of the eternal love of God.

Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians that “There is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” This scripture text reminds us of our relationality with all people, all creation. God is love and the trinity itself points to this loving, intimate relationship within Godself. What a beautiful picture of self-emptying love! The Divine Creator of all life is in and through all of creation itself, constantly changing, moving, evolving and loving us all into being, one with the other! God pouring out Godself over and over and over again into creation; into you and into me, loving us through and through and through, sending Godself into the world, incarnate in the personhood of Jesus of Nazareth, what a blessing! What a gift!

How are we being intentional about seeing God in the ‘other’? How are we being intentional about seeing God in God’s very creation, our world? God is love and that love is intimate and intentional and constantly being poured out into our world if we but choose to see and be aware of this tremendous gift of grace bestowed upon each one of us, a communion with the Christ. How am I being the Christ to my world?

“There is the free fall into the boundless abyss of God in which we all meet one another, beyond all distinctions, beyond all designations. This is the oneness that includes all distinctions.”  ~James Finley

Joanna Davidson Smith
2016 District Conference Moderator

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