“The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.”
Archbishop William Temple
Perhaps we should write Archbishop Temple’s words in stone in a prominent place in our churches. It should also be written on our hearts. I also see it as a mission statement for our soul. Jesus gives in his last discourse to the disciples before he dies this Great Commandment, “that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) We are called to stay connected to God’s love and then to share that love with all we meet on this journey. Part of spiritual direction involves helping our spiritual friends stay aware of their connection to God by following a rule of life or observing spiritual practices on a regular basis.
There is a second part to spiritual direction, however. If we just keep that God connection to ourselves and do not share the love we have received from God, the love cannot survive.
My image of feeling God’s love is like the peace and calm and joy one feels immersed in the water of a warm bath. We cannot just stay there, however. Our skin shrivels, the water becomes cold and murky and eventually dirty. We are called to enjoy the bath, but to get out of the bath tub, put some clothes on, and connect to others about the experience by our words and actions! We may even run a bath or bathe others. We may even wash the feet of others and they may wash ours.
Loving others involves servant ministry. First, we must be connected to that love and then we are to serve and share that love with others.