Love Your Neighbor

Changing the World, Right Where You Are (Shane Claiborne)

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Shane Claiborne shares a great story about how God used him, right where he was, to transform the world around him and challenges us to do the same.

Shane Claiborne is a prominent speaker, activist, and best-selling author. From working alongside Mother Teresa in Calcutta to standing against war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Shane lives his life as if Jesus really meant the things he said.


About the Poster
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC

Love Your Neighbor (Lightened By The Light - Week 4)

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In light of Micah 6:8 this week (to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God), Rowan Williams addresses how this looks toward our neighbor:

To assume the right to judge, or to assume that you have arrived at a settled spiritual maturity that entitles you to prescribe confidently at a distance for another’s sickness, is in fact to leave others without the therapy they need for their souls; it is to cut them off from God, to leave them in their spiritual slavery — while reinforcing your own slavery.

Williams, Rowan. Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another (Kindle Locations 431-434). New Seeds. Kindle Edition. 

Love Your Neighbor

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Last week we heard from a Dessert Monk named John the Dwarf (again, an incredibly cinematic name). This week Rowan Williams reflects on Anthony's link of loving neighbor and loving God:

Saint Anthony of the Desert says that gaining the brother or sister and winning God are linked. It is not getting them signed up to something or getting them on your side. It is opening doors for them to healing and to wholeness. Insofar as you open such doors for another, you gain God, in the sense that you become a place where God happens for somebody else. You become a place where God happens. God comes to life for somebody else in a life-giving way, not because you are good or wonderful, but because that is what God has done. So, if we can shift our preoccupations, anxiety, and selfishness out of the way to put someone in touch with the possibility of God’s healing, to that extent we are ourselves in touch with God’s healing. So, if you gain your brother or sister, you gain God.

Williams, Rowan. Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another (p. 24). New Seeds. Kindle Edition. 

Love Your Neighbor

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One of my favorite early monks in the church was a man known by the name "John the Dwarf" (sounds like he's right out of Lord of the Rings). We often think of monastics as solitary and reclusive figures, but they are quite the opposite. They have much to teach us about radical hospitality and love of neighbor. Rowan Williams talks about John below:

John the Dwarf: “You don’t build a house by starting with the roof and working down. You start with the foundation.” They said, “What does that mean?” He said, “The foundation is our neighbor whom we must win. The neighbor is where we start. Every commandment of Christ depends on this.” Everything begins with this vision and hope: to put the neighbor in touch with God in Christ.

Williams, Rowan. Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another (pp. 14-15). New Seeds. Kindle Edition. 


About the Author
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC

Love Your Neighbor

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From Rowan Williams' book "Where God Happens:"

We love with God when and only when we are the conduit for God’s reconciling presence with the person next to us. It is as we connect the other with the source of life that we come to stand in the place of life, the place cleared and occupied for us by Christ.

Williams, Rowan. Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another (p. 36). New Seeds. Kindle Edition. 

Love Your Neighbor (Coming Home - Week 4)

Today's "Love Your Neighbor" comes from our Advent Devotional (found in its entirety here):

"At the time when Jesus was born, shepherds weren’t considered to be very important. They had important work to do, but they weren’t people that others might necessarily invite to their homes. Yet they were invited to meet the baby Jesus.

Are there people in your family or community who might not be invited to a Christmas celebration this year? Join hands together. Name those who come to mind that on this Christmas Eve are alone and forgotten. Together, think of a way you can recognize and remember some of the forgotten people. Together, pray for the forgotten people in your home, your church, or your community."

Love Your Neighbor (Coming Home - Week 3)

This week's "Love Your Neighbor" comes from this year's Advent Devotional found here:

"There are people in our neighborhoods, in our church, and in our community who need to know of God's joy. Select someone to visit today. Visit by phone or in person. Go as a family or by yourself. It doesn't necessarily have to be a visit to a home. Maybe there is someone you see in a place where you go to eat. Stop by today and talk with that person. Tell the person you visit one way he or she brings joy to you."

Love Your Neighbor (Coming Home - Week 2)

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From this week's Advent Devotional (found here):

There are people in our neighborhoods, in our church, and in our community who need to know of God's love. Select someone to visit today. Visit by phone or in person. Go as a family or by yourself. It doesn't necessarily have to be a visit to a home. Maybe there is someone who waits on you at the grocery store. Stop by today and talk with that person. Tell the person you visit how you are reminded of God’s love because of what that person has said or done.

Love Your Neighbor (Advent Week 1)

Often, loving your neighbor requires preparation. Today's prayer action from this year's Advent Devotional is a great way to do that (see the whole devotional here):

"As we get ready to celebrate again the birth of Jesus, we sometimes get very busy. Today, take a ten-minute break. Sit quietly. If it helps you to concentrate, look at your Advent wreath. Pray, asking God's help to bring quiet and calm to a busy world."

Love Your Neighbor (and Your Enemies)

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Every so often I like to recommend a specific episode of podcast that generates good thought and conversation about what it means to love your neighbor/enemy. This recent episode of The Liturgists Podcast does an excellent job of walking through the issue of loving your enemy "through the lens of art, science, and faith."


About the Author
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC