We will love God, One Another, and the Earth by Providing Sanctuary, Practicing Hospitality, and Performing Ministry.
This phrase is the mission statement for UCCI and it fits well with our slogan “Ignite your fire, feed your soul, build your faith,….in nature’s sanctuary.” Many organizations exert a significant amount of effort and intentionality in creating mission statements. Most of the time we look at these statements rather casually, not giving them a whole lot of thought, searching for the catch phrase that we can remember like an advertising slogan. I thought it might be good to explore what our statement really could mean.
What does “We will love God” mean? How can we possibly live that out? How do we love other things? We love things by participating in activities with them. We love things by celebrating their existence. We love things by respecting, honoring, caring for them or what they value. If you love a car you take care of it, you drive safely in it, you wash it, you change the oil on a regular basis. If you love your home, you keep it clean, you keep it in good repair, you spend time there and you probably invite others to spend time there. If you love another person, your spend time with them, you care for them, you respect them, you celebrate their presence in your life. How do we do that with God?
I think as a part of the UCCI community, we display our love for God in a number of ways. We do this by caring for, respecting, honoring and celebrating the natural world around us. We do this in our worship services, in our camp fire vespers, and in our discussion groups. We love God in our attempt to listen to and discern what directions in life God is calling us to move in. Our love can be lived out in the time we spend walking a labyrinth, honoring a sunset, and enjoying a meal and conversation with each other.
At times it can be really tricky to love something you can not necessarily grab hold of and hug, but at other times it can be really easy when it is available to us 24/7. Our love for God can be lived out in many ways. I have only touched on a few, some of which may seem very familiar to other people, some of which might be new concepts. I am also confident that other people may answer this question in a totally different way. How do you live out your own personal love for God?
~Rev. Nathan Athorp