As we look around, things have slowly returned to something closer to the norm we knew prior to March 2020. However, we have not made it here without stress, strain, loss, and grief. As much as things have returned to normal, they have changed a great deal. Such transitional times can be difficult to navigate. We emerge from a stressful two years just wanting what we had before but much of what we knew may never return.
What do we do?
Our Wesleyan tradition provides a helpful guide for us in the Three Simple Rules adapted from the two Great Commandments to love God and love neighbor. These rules are:
- Do no harm,
- Do good, and
- Observe the ordinances of God
The first two rules lay out the neighborliness God’s love calls us to in these days. What are our individual and collective behaviors that are harmful and how can we avoid those? What is the good my neighbors need and how can I provide that good to them? These rules help us keep an eye on putting our neighbors’ interests before our own.
The third rule is simply about practicing the means of grace, such as worship and the sacraments, studying scripture and praying personally and together to stay in touch, spiritually, with our creator. By doing so, we open ourselves to the gracious transformation that God offers to us so that we are empowered to fulfill the call of the first two rules. We are transformed inwardly so our behavior is transformed outwardly and that loving behavior transforms the lives of our neighbors as they encounter the love of God.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. In uncertain times, let us lean into these three simple rules as we navigate the changing landscape of our lives.
Grace and peace,
Rev. J.D. Allen