learning to live and love intentionally

Simple church exists to cultivate calm, centered and compassionate lives by following a rule of life.  As we enter into this fall and we re-launch our evening worship at 5pm on Sunday weekly (starting Sunday, September 11th), I thought it might be helpful to revisit what it means to live by a rule of life.

Simply put, a rule of life helps us to live and love intentionally.  It means committing to a transformation spiritual practice that you can actually do every day, week, or month; with the underlying belief that this rule of life will help you to see, to know and live into the rhythms of God’s grace (life-giving love) at work in the world.  A rule of life helps us to practice an ongoing awareness of God’s presence and to intentionally seek God’s grace in every movement we make and moment we have in this thing we call our life.

As with most things that actively transform us, it’s always better to start off small and go from there.  And as a friend/colleague/mentor and all around awesome person always says, “Do what you CAN and not what you CAN’T.’* In other words, a rule of life is something you commit to, but it is not something you beat yourself up over if you don’t ‘do it perfectly.’   This will actually negate the point of the whole thing which is: learning how to be more compassionate….

Ok, so what is your rule of life?  What practices do you have which fill you up & empty you out for the sake of the healing and restoration of your neighborhood/city/world?  Can you take a step back and be more intentional about how you approach your life, your parenting, your job, your family relationships, your finances, your diet, etc?

As we re-launch simple church worship I wanted to propose a new, simplified rule of life based on the Greatest Commandment Jesus gives us 1. Love God 2. Love your Neighbor 3. Love your Self.

Here’s how I parse it out:

Every day I will strive to prayerfully enact these three rules:

  1. Love God. Do something prayerful directed toward loving God- go to worship, pray the  Lord’s Prayer, sing a hymn, sit in silence for any length of time, practice Lectio Divina, dwell in grace.
  1. Love neighbor. Do something prayerful directed toward loving another person- a small act of compassion, pray for someone, help someone in need, confess your resentment/anger at another person to God, or any number of random acts of kindness one can imagine, offer grace.
  1. Love Self. Do something prayerful directed toward loving yourself- yoga, take a walk, eat a healthy meal, pay off some debt, practice generosity, receive Holy Communion regularly, accept grace.

Is this rule of life complete?  No.  Is it perfect?  No.  But it does seem like a good, maybe even a great, place to start.

If you don’t want to do it alone, you don’t have to, join us Sundays at 5pm.  Because a calm, centered and compassionate life is possible.

www.santamoincaumc.org/simplechurch

*quote borrowed from Rev. Nicole Riley

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