Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Hospitable

I.        Vows of Affirmation
“We devote our daily life to God, and to serving our neighbors as images of God”

    madlyinlovewithlife via Flickr
  1. I will live, speak and act with courtesy, respect, and honesty toward friend and enemy, neighbor and stranger.

There is a growing set of true stories sharing surprising outcomes to encounters with a violent enemy. One goes like this: A couple is asleep in their bed-and-breakfast home. As a man with a knife crawled in the open window, the wife awakens to see him approaching through the dark. As he nears she speaks out, “You can kill us, but first let me make you a cup of coffee.” The startled intruder gradually accepts the offer and over a hot cup decides against his original violent plans.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Fruitful

I.        Vow of Affirmation
We devote our daily life to God, and to serving our neighbors as images of God”

  1. I will live, speak and act with truth, compassion, kindness, gentleness, mercy, patience, generosity, and expectant hope that others will respond in kind.
purpletwinkie via Flickr

The call to Christian peacemaking involves our whole being and takes place in the whole of life. It involves our thinking and speaking as well as our acting. It is manifested in more than just retaliation from harmful force and power—in fact it is characterized as much by positive action as by negative avoidances. Among these positive responses, the diverse fruit of the Spirit are clear signs and elements of Christ’s peaceful way. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Very Image

I.        Vow of Affirmation
We devote our daily life to God, and to serving our neighbors as images of God”
       2.  I will seek the image of God in each and every person;  
               I will treat them as fully worthy of the good I desire for myself.
It’s the cashier at your grocery store, the neighbor whose name you don’t know but you wave to every morning, the sleazebag womanizer on that “reality” show, your favorite song leader at church, your most opinionated and least favorite coworker, your implied national enemy, it’s the gaggle of high schoolers each with eyes and thumbs locked to their phones,  it’s your mother.  The image of God. It is in all of them, it’s in you fractured and trampled in the mud though it may be. 

By Through Painted Eyes via Flickr

“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness…

So God created humankind in God’s image,
          in the image of God he created them;
          male and female God created them.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

An Elemental Offering

 I.        Vow of Affirmation
We devote our daily life to God, and to serving our neighbors as images of God:”

  1. I will daily offer my life to God with reverence and a living faith; I will daily pray to be used as a servant by God for the good of my neighbors near and far.
(Photo by justin tippins via Flickr)
During the opening to Lent, we may sound like a recording from the first week of the New Year: “I resolve to eat less and healthier, to be a nicer person, to turn this resolution into a new habit.” How many of us really make it through more than a few weeks of our resolutions? But the commitments we make at the beginning of Lent are of a different nature. Unlike most New Year’s resolutions, Lenten vows are made as a covenant between us and our God (and hopefully our faith community). The focus shifts toward serving God and others more than just our own self-improvement.  And rightly focused, God—more than our human initiative and willpower—becomes the source of our resolve and strength to carry out our Lenten vows.

Monday, February 20, 2012

For Lent: 40 Days with 20 Vows

As a way of engaging in the Covenant of Christian Nonviolence, we are posting 40 daily Lenten reflections based on the 20 vows that make up the covenant (not including Sundays)! Check back each weekday starting Ash Wednesday, February 22 or subscribe in the sidebar for email or RSS updates for the daily reflections. 

We hope this will be a fruitful daily discipline for you this Lenten season of the cross. Feel free to leave your own short reflections or prayers in the comments below each post. 

May Christ lead us all into greater commitment to his way of cross-bearing discipleship.

Introducing a Covenant of Christian Nonviolence

The Peace Committee of Virginia Mennonite Conference (VMC) invites you and your congregation to invigorate or refresh your pursuit of Jesus’ calling to be peacemakers in the path of obedient discipleship. Toward this end, we offer a solid Covenant of Christian Nonviolence for reflection, conversation and adoption by groups and individuals seeking to deepen their practices of peacemaking and witness. 

This thick Covenant is rooted in the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount and the practical experience of peacemakers in past generations. The goal of the Covenant is not to create a new church program or a new sub-group within our churches, but to create new opportunities and awareness in our hearts for the Spirit of Jesus to shine forth the light of the gospel in our lives, which is the peace of God’s Kingdom.   

The Covenant is not intended to be a checklist for achieving a status, but a set of spiritual exercises for seeking more intimate fellowship with God and peace with our neighbors, our own selves, and all creation.  For adolescents establishing their faith-identities, and adults seeking deeper faith, this Covenant can be a resource to visit again and again for clarifying Jesus’ call to the path of God’s Kingdom in the midst of a violent world.