Another initiative that was launched at the 79th General Convention was a “call” from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry for The Episcopal Church to follow “The Way of Love: Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life.” Since that day of its launch, social media has been abuzz with people asking about resources and how to engage with this rule of life. I was blessed to be on the early track of this launch, having been invited by Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation (the pillars of The Jesus Movement) to join a group of Christian formation leaders in the Episcopal Church to flesh out how this might become a reality and a formation tool for growing disciples. As those of you who are Christian formation folk, you know that when you are given a challenge under a deadline and put in a room of like-minded folks amazing things can happen. With various individuals adding input and encouragement from across the Church, The Way of Love was launched.
What is a Rule of Life?
A rule of life is a commitment to live your life in a particular way––created with prayer and discernment. It is an intentional pattern of spiritual disciplines, such as prayer and reading the Bible, which provides structure and direction to live a holy life. In partnering with God and understanding the gifts that God has given you, you create a pattern to follow every day, acknowledging the God made you and the beliefs you hold are inscribed on your heart. St. Benedict’s Rule of Life is perhaps the most famous and is still followed by many today. It establishes a way of life rooted in the Gospel and grounded in principles of charity, humility, stability, and faithfulness. Communities that follow a Rule of Life together often say, “It says ‘this is who we are, this is our story’; and it reminds us of those things God has put on our hearts.”
With this invitation, Bishop Curry named seven practices that can help us grow deeper in our relationship with God, Jesus, and our neighbors as we also learn how to live into our baptismal promises more fully. In today’s world of busy schedules and hurried meals and time together, it is now more imperative that we make and take the time to center ourselves and follow the way of Jesus. This might mean revisioning and reshaping the pattern and rhythm of our daily life––finding a slice of time to center our thoughts on Jesus. Within the pages of The Way of Love for Families you will find ideas to engage your family, leading the way as a parent, grandparent, godparent, sibling, or mentor with children walking on The Way of Love: Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life.
Engaging Families in The Way of Love
Many families already follow a spiritual discipline of praying at meals or before bedtime, regularly reading from the Bible together, or engaging in acts of kindness toward others. If so, build upon what I offer here; if not, here is a way to begin. Select one of the practices that interest you or that is especially important for you and your family at this time. Watch for signs in your daily life pointing you toward a particular practice. Listen for a call from God telling you how to move closer. Anywhere is a good place to start. This is your invitation to commit to the practices of Turn – Learn – Pray – Worship – Bless – Go – Rest. There is no rush, each day is a new beginning. Follow Bishop Curry’s call to grow in faith “following the loving, liberating, life-giving way of Jesus. His way has the power to change each of our lives and to change this world.”
Resources for families to use at home with their children:
- Download The Way of Love for Families I put together with my Church Publishing colleagues.
- Download this Way of Love Catcher from Forma
- Download Living Well Children’s Workbook: Christian Practices for Children by John Roberto
- Today is a Baptism Day by Anna Ostenso Moore
- Let Us Pray: A Little Kid’s Guide to the Eucharist by Jennie Turrell
- What We Do in Church by Anne E. Kitch
- Water of Baptism, Water for Life by Anne E. Kitch
Resources for parents and caregivers:
- Faith at Home: A Handbook for Cautiously Christian Parents by Wendy Claire Barrie
- Stories of God at Home: A Godly Play Approach by Jerome Berryman
- My Faithful Celebrations series that offers a variety of ideas for celebrating secular and sacred holidays at home
Coming soon – The Way of Love for Youth and The Way of Love for Congregations. In the meantime, check out all the resources Church Publishing offers for you to engage in the practices of The Way of Love here.