s we continue to discern God’s call on our lives at St. Paul’s, your leaders are considering a four part emphasis for our mission.
Let's consider the first two: Love for the South and Love for the Self.
Love for the South is about our call to love our neighbors in the parish to which God has called us. Since the closest southerly parish is DeSoto, that means, we've got a spiritual responsibility for our neighbors in Jefferson County and South County, as well as South City. That's a lot of people!
You may already know that there was a time with the KKK adopted highway 55 in Jefferson County, just south of St. Louis. That history speaks to the racism and classism of our area. Let's embody Christ's love by inviting our next- door, around-the-block, and down-the-highway neighbors to Church. In Jesus, we know that all people are loved and welcomed equally. Unpacking our own xenophobia is part of Love for the South. Perhaps you have ideas about this too. They are welcome!
Love for the Self is about our call to Love our neighbors as our selves (Mark 12:31). If we can't honor and cultivate our inner lives, we are not equipped to love others. As part of this commitment, we strive to create safe space for brokenness, learning space for healing and growing, and welcome space for differences of experience and perspective. Love for the Self is a foundational place for us to welcome the healing, transformational power of Jesus.
As you discern what these loves might mean for you, please give your feedback and thoughts. Your leaders are eager to hear from you and be guided by our shared discernment. Below is a survey that can start you off on the process. But don't stop there, keep talking and praying!
Noah’s Ark has been a metaphor for the Church for millenia. The parallels are pretty evident. Like the ark, the church is a sanctuary from the death-dealing systems and evils in the world. These days, we understand that all creatures and the earth itself are in need of sanctuary.
As we continue to discern God’s call on our lives at St. Paul’s, your leaders are considering a four part emphasis for discerning our mission. Jesus told his followers to follow him, be like him, and model the love and inclusion he carried in his body. This is our Gospel call at St. Paul's. You may find it easier to think of these four as the Four Embodied Loves: Love for the South, Love for the Self, Love for the Soil, and Love for the Street. They are all interconnected but in their particularity they help guide our decision making and vision. In future essays, I'll be unpacking what each of these embodied loves might look like in real life.
But first, let's consider the question: what is "embodied love"?
The concept is at the heart of what makes Episcopalians tick. Sacramental theology is all about uniting uniting the spiritual and material. Instead of thinking bodies and objects are bad and invisible "God-stuff" is good, we honor that God sees matter as the perfect venue for reflecting the divine.
For love to have power, it needs tangibility. As St. Teresa of Avila said, "Christ has no body now but yours, no hands and feet but yours..." In our time and place, in our wonderful little power-house of an ark, our collective love, strenghtend in Christ Jesus, is a tangible place for the healing of the world.
How are you embodying love in your daily life and realtionships? How can we together strengthen you in that effort? Let's continue the conversation in the days ahead.
-- Pastor Rebecca
Rector's Corner posts written by Pastor Rebecca.