Monday, 6 March 2017

5 marks of Love Introduction

On Feb, 26th we held the introduction to the Lenten series The 5 Marks of Love which I am leading at our church.  We had a very lively discussion in which I outlined how the sessions would be conducted and giving an introduction to each of the 5 Marks which will be covered in the five sessions during Lent.  We began by praying a prayer for the Lenten series which is a prayer I use at the beginning of the Spiritual Direction sessions I have with directees.  We followed with the Shema; the Hear of Israel which sums up the idea of the series i.e. it is recognizing the love of God in our lives and sharing that love with others.  I have attached the Introduction to the series from the series workbook. 

Prayer for the Lenten Series
Bless this time, in the name of the Three who are over us.
Bless this time, in the name of the One who guides us.
Open our eyes to see how our lives
Can reflect something of You.
Aid us in understanding Your will
With our hearts as well as our minds
Give us the wisdom to discern Your intention for us;
The strength to follow the path You prepare for us;
And Your comfort on the journey You offer to us.

The Great Commandment
Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
This is the first and the great commandment.
The second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.
There is no commandment greater than these.  Amen.
In this series we will be exploring what it means to understand that God loves us and that we share that love with others as not only a calling but a as a response to that love.  Today is an introduction to the series.  We will be exploring each of the five Marks of Love in each of the five sessions after today.  There will be a time provided in the sessions to reflect on the content as well as to respond. 
No one is required or even expected to respond—it is never a case of respond or die.  I know some people are less at ease giving a response a larger group.  Also some people need time to reflect on an idea or proposal before they say anything about it.  I am often that way being a strong introvert.  So don’t feel under any pressure to participate verbally.  Your presence is enough. 
How does the divine life express itself in and through us? If we are marked as “Christ’s own forever,” what are the “marks of love” that reflect and manifest the life of God abiding and at work within us?  In this Lenten series we will observe and reflect on the ways in which God’s life expresses itself in us and through us.  Specifically we see God’s life at work within us as we:
1.     TELL: Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
2.     TEACH: Teach, baptize and nurture new believers
3.     TEND: Respond to human need by loving service
4.     TRANSFORM: Transform unjust structures, challenge violence of every kind
5.     Treasure: Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth
Is there one of these Marks of Love that particularly resonates with you; one that you are drawn to in a positive way?
Is there one that particularly does not resonate with you; one that you cannot imagine yourself doing? 
Hopefully you will find our exploration of these Marks of Love to give you new perspectives on all the different aspects of God’s love.  

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