“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
The church has always been a school of sorts. Sometimes a school of scripture where verses were memorized, and stories passed on to a new generation. Sometimes a school of doctrine so we could know how our beliefs about God differed from others – and know we were right! Sometimes a school of morals and ethics teaching the right way to live and judging those who failed. The church has been a school for a long time. Yet, as I look around and have a hard time telling the Christian from the non-Christian; or hear people claim Christ and then spew hate and judgment, I wonder whether all the teaching did any good.
Brian McLaren, in his book The Great Spiritual Migration, wonders if the curriculum, the goal of our teaching needs amendment today. If God is love, and love is at the center of the cross and resurrection, what if we were a School of Love? That question got us thinking. Our mission statement is, “Share God’s Love.” Our core beliefs at focus on God’s love. The Old Testament is a treatise on “the steadfast love of the Lord.” Jesus tells us to “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) And then there is Paul, who tells us in Colossians that, above all other things we can be as people of God, love is what “binds everything together in perfect harmony.” I don’t know about you, but I think this world could use some binding together, some perfect harmony. Amen?
This fall we will be launching an integrated curriculum that will bind together what people of all ages learn as disciples in this congregation. We are, though it may sound corny or cute at first, calling it the School of Love. The goal will be to teach God’s story as a story of love and life as a call to love God, love neighbor, love creation. We’ll be following a guide based on our core values and beliefs, which are all about God’s love and our loving response to grace. Why make this change? Well, maybe it will make a difference.
We are preparing video-based presentations for church school, affirmation (confirmation), and adults. They will be used whether we’re dispersed and virtual or gathering safely. Materials will be available for use at home or in the classroom. We don’t know exactly how the year will unfold, but we do know that we’ll be teaching one another about loving God, loving neighbor, and loving creation.
You can check out a video introduction of the curriculum. You can also click to register for church school and confirmation. Sign up for the School of Love and we can work to “clothe ourselves in love” for the sake of the world.
Tim Olson, Lead Pastor