Last weekend Kris and I were with the fine folks at Arvada Covenant Church (Colorado) for a Jesus Creed weekend. Our thanks to Nate Powell and John Martz for the kind invitation and hospitality. Some of you know we got snowed in, but if there’s any place to get snowed in, I can think of no better place than the foothills of the Rockies.
We had three sessions — Friday night, Saturday late afternoon, and then the Sunday morning services. The Jesus Creed focuses our attention on the essence of Jesus’ moral vision for his kingdom people. They are to love God and to love others as themselves. Combining love of God and love of others is not uniquely from Jesus but explicitly clasping “love your neighbor as yourself” (from Leviticus 19:18) to the daily recitation of the Shema (Hear O Israel…) appears to be distinctive to Jesus. Whether that is the casJee is not as important as the centralization of Torah into loving God and loving others, so that is what we focused on in our sessions. Which leads to important clarifications of what love is, a term misunderstood widely in our culture.
The Christian life is framed in many ways today, including as social activism, as withdrawal from the world into holiness, as eucharist and sacramental living, as private, personal spirituality, and as theology and Bible knowledge. Each of these is important, but Jesus framed the entirety of discipleship as first and foremost about loving God and loving others. Obedience without love is not genuine obedience, holiness without love is not holiness, and activism without love is not activism. Each of these frameworks gains its perspective when seen through the Jesus Creed.
So many people to thank, beginning with Nate and John, but also to Vicky and Jerry Reier for transportation, to Nate and Kiesa for homemade corn chowder, to Dave Runyon for a good breakfast conversation about neighboring in Denver, to David and Judy Diehl for lunch, to Ron and Jenny for opening their home to so many for dinner, and then to John and Diane and their small group for the impromptu dinner when we were snowed in.