the hallmark of discipleship

I’ve spent the last 24 hours at the feet of Mirabai Starr, a writer, translator, speaker, and teacher who focuses on the spirituality of medieval mystics and inter-spiritual experience.  As one who lives in the world of the spiritual but not religious, and grew up in the me generation, I’ll reserve comment on her position of privilege that makes room for syncretism.  What I do appreciate is that her focus is on love.  I am especially thankful for it as I read the Gospel lesson for Sunday, in which, Jesus says,

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

I think Mirabai Starr would say that without love, we aren’t doing religion right, no matter what that religion is.  I can only speak from my perspective, as an ordained minister in The Episcopal Church, and say that I can tell when I’m not doing it right when there isn’t love.  It is the hallmark of discipleship, that hallmark of faith.  Love is the way in which the Spirit pours out of us.  This became clear to me in our last exercise of clergy conference, that Ms. Starr pulled from a book entitled, “Writing Down the Bones.”  We were invited to write, stream of consciousness like, for 5 minutes each on two topics.  Here is my writing practice.

I see the face of God when…

  • FBC wakes me up in the morning, blanket in hand, ready for the adventure of a new day
  • SBC fusses in the middle of the night and then goes back to sleep – thanks be to God
  • SHW and I work out our life together with joy and vigor
  • I see someone finally “get it”
  • I finally “get it”
  • I stand in the pulpit and attempt to speak a word that makes sense to more than just me
  • TKT and I are able to spend a day listening, thinking, hearing what God has in store for us next
  • I step foot in Ms. Cashion/Ms. Carpenter’s class room on Thursday at 9am
  • I move from sarcasm to joy, which doesn’t happen very often
  • I engage in stupid theological conversation with friends from throughout my life on Facebook and Twitter
  • I get to use the gifts that God has entrusted to my care
  • When I let go of my guilt and frustration over pastoral care, which I’m terrible at, and just do it.
  • I listen to the Avett Brothers or Mumford and Sons or any time someone does something they love with passion and joy
  • I talk to Bob Graves
  • I open a book that most would say “ugh” about and find that I really, really enjoy a ridiculously minute detail on the stuff that defines my vocation
  • I get on a boat, any boat

I don’t see the face of God when…

  • I don’t look for it
  • I move from joy to sarcasm, which happens very often
  • I run because I have to not because I want to
  • I do anything because I have to, not because I want to
  • I don’t engage in my spiritual practices of scripture reading, reflection, and prayer
  • I forget that I’m an introvert
  • I think that it all depends on me
  • SBC doesn’t go back to sleep
  • I watch the news
  • I think more highly of myself than I ought
  • I don’t think high enough of myself
  • I chase after the things of this world: money, success, power, prestige
  • I live into my guilt and frustration over pastoral care, which I’m terrible at, and find excuses not to do it
  • I seek the negative
  • I forget to take care of myself

As I reflect on it, I see the face of God when I’m loving: God, others, and myself.  When I don’t see God, it is because I’m not loving.


3 thoughts on “the hallmark of discipleship

  1. Pingback: I will… | Draughting Theology

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