The Bishop reiterated his morning message by saying that the relationship of God with us is Love and that is the reality of life. God never lets go. He can take us from bitterness to the wings of eagles. God’s love is divine and God’s love is transforming.We want to have people look at us and say, “There is the Love of God”. We want God’s love to radiate through us.
During the season of Epiphany we have become conscious of many revelations of God. We may have become conscious of discerning moments and we have been made conscious of the paths of those seeking revelation. In reality the church lives epiphanies all year. Lent also is a time of epiphanies as we ask and discover ‘Who is this Man?’Bishop Vono explained that Romans 12:9-16 includes the 12 ingredients for living a life in incarnated Christian love. According to John Stott, it is a recipe for Love. The ingredients are Sincere, Honor, Generous, Discerning, Enthusiastic, Hospitable, Tender Affection, Patient, Kind, Sympathy, Harmony, and Humility. These are how the Love of God is channeled to the world.
“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.”Then the Bishop unwrapped the ingredients with further explanation.
- Love incarnate is Genuine or without hypocrisy. Eugene Peterson expands vs. 9 to read we should “love from the center of who you are, don’t fake it.”
- Love also discerns and holds to what is good.
- Love has tender, that is brotherly, affection for each other. This is the philos affection meaning loving someone as ‘born of the same womb’. Indeed we are all born of the same womb-of God and Christ.
- Love should compete or strive in showing honor, like an athlete who works to get better and better at a sport.
- Love is enthusiastic as in earnest endeavor and aglow with a spirit of service toward the Lord.
- Love is generous in contributing to needs.
- Love gets involved and is sympathetic to each other.
- Love lives in harmony by loving others as we love ourselves-that is to be of one mind.
- Love has humility and is not haughty or conceited. The Bishop referred to Pat Green’s sermon illustration of DL Moody who once was staying with some European clergy in a hotel. The other clergymen left their boots outside their rooms to be polished, as was the custom in Europe. Moody gathered them up himself and polished them for the fellow clergymen.
At the break, Bishop Vono suggested that we re-read Romans 12:9-16 and pray over the ingredients of love to see which one(s) we need to work on.After questions from the ladies, the definitions of Love, written by the ladies at the start of the retreat were read. Love is:
- Caring deeply for the welfare of another and when necessary putting their needs before your own.
- Praying for family and friends, forgiving those who have hurt us & compassion to those in need.
- Sharing your life with someone, or God, to help and be present as needed without intention of recognition or reward.
- Deep caring and wanting good for the other (person, animal, deity).
- An action that supports the highest good for another.
- The intense sense of caring and needing to belong to another.
- Sharing God’s feelings for you.
- Appreciating and accepting all the ways we are the same and different.
- Joy in sharing both the good and bad aspects of ourselves with another.
- Giving oneself without qualification.
- Seeing Jesus in someone else.
- A relationship in which one is accepting, forgiving, always promoting the other’
Below are links to the afternoon mediation by Bishop Vono (in 2 parts because of the length of the total talk).
http://youtu.be/0CnQskRrlNw part 3http://youtu.be/HvGkGDvKqnk part 4