July 2016: Love is a Verb (week one)

The following is an excerpt from Love is a Verb: A one-year spiritual practice resource, written by Leo Hartshorn. The resource explores the 2017 convention theme Love is a Verb through the lens of Richard Foster’s six spiritual streams. Download the entire booklet from the Mennonite Church USA resource center.

LV_simple-01We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us — and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.—1 John 3:16-18 (NRSV)

Throughout this month participants engage the theme Love is a verb and the text 1 John 3:16-18. Repeat these practices daily during the week. The suggestions for practice reflect elements of the six spiritual streams.

Week of July 3–9

Find a solitary place. Light a candle to represent the presence of God’s flaming Spirit. Sit in silence for a few minutes. Clear your mind of thoughts and distractions. Take several deep breaths in and out. Slowly breathe in, meditating on the phrase Love in truth. Slowly breathe out, meditating on the phrase Love in action. Sit in silence for several minutes.

Open the Bible and read through the theme text. Over the week, as you ponder the text each day, reflect on these questions and how they connect to your life. Focus on one question per day:

1) What does this text reveal about God’s nature?
2) What is the Spirit saying to me from this text and this time of meditation?
3) What does this text say about the nature of love?
4) What is the good news to be proclaimed from this text?
5) How should this text shape my moral character?
6) What is this text calling me to do in showing compassion for others in the world?
7) How I can embody the truth of this text in family life, vocation, leisure and relationships?