The opening Eucharist of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church on July 5 included lively music in many styles, communion for thousands of people and a sermon by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry calling on members of the Episcopal Church to embrace spiritual practices that can help lead them to a Jesus-centered life.
Called the “Way of Love,” the seven practices provide a Rule of Life that all Episcopalians are encouraged to adopt.
• Turn: Pause, listen and choose to follow Jesus.
• Learn: Reflect daily on scripture, especially the life and teachings of Jesus.
• Pray: Spend time with God in prayer every day.
• Worship: Gather in community for worship every week.
• Bless: Share one’s faith and find ways to serve other people.
• Go: Move beyond one’s comfort to witness to the love of God with words and actions.
• Rest: Dedicate time for restoration and wholeness.
Curry said that several months ago he had asked a group of bishops, clergy and laypeople to meet with him to explore how the church could move more deeply into being the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, a statement that has been the theme for his first three years as presiding bishop. He said he wanted to find a way to “help people throw themselves into the arms of Jesus.”
That group concluded that the Episcopal Church did not need a new program but instead should call upon spiritual practices that for centuries have helped Christians draw closer to God. The result, the Way of Love, is an adaption of monastic traditions that Curry said would help church members “open up the soul and spirit.”
He also encouraged everyone at General Convention to spend time meditating on the life and teachings of Jesus before they take action, including before speaking at a microphone.
Volunteers handed out brochures describing the practices to people as they left the worship hall.
Materials explaining the Way of Love have been posted on the Episcopal Church website.
The text of Curry’s sermon is available here.