In Jesus Christ we experience a God who risks Godself for the well-being of ourselves, neighbors, neighborhoods and the earth – in all of these "locations of human relationship." Jesus calls a community of people to respond by joining God in that love. God intends for us to love and be loved in all of these locations of relationship.
Love is our willingness to risk ourselves for the well-being of ourselves and our neighbors. Love includes a willingness to have our hearts broken open through God’s compassion for God’s beloved peoples and God's good, very good earth. The well-being of all
Neighbors include both those who are local to us and those who are far away, those who are like us and those with whom we have significant differences, those we see as enemies and those who will come after us.
When our well-being and that of our neighbor’s is strong then love means knowing each other and rejoicing together. Likewise, when our neighborhood is peaceful and productive we rejoice together. When the earth is cared for and we live in the balance of what we need and the earth can provide, we rejoice with our neighbor and all of creation.
We, our neighbors, neighborhoods and the earth often experience a lack of well-being.
- When our neighbor lacks well-being, if they are sick or hungry or lonely love means working with other neighbors to care for and support them though a time of need.
- When our neighborhoods lack well-being love means working together to restore our well-being. When our neighborhoods are negatively impacted by a lack of living wage jobs or by racism we work with our neighbors to work for a better future.
- When the earth lacks well-being through an unsustainable economic system, or is being used as a dumping ground for waste products love means working with our neighbors to work for societal change.
The human family and the earth are in a time of great challenges to our well-being.
In this time love cannot mean simply mean being nice to our neighbor, although that would be a good start. It is not enough to take our neighbor a pot of soup when they are experiencing the effects of racism, poverty or environmental degradation. The more institutional or structural the causes for a lack of well-being the more collective and public our response of love.
The Catacomb Churches recognizes that love includes a range of response, from individual and private to collective and public, depending on the location of the problem:
- Knowing our neighbors and neighborhoods
- Supporting individual neighbors in their need and being supported in ours
- Sustainable and diverse community development
- Advocacy for a more just and sustainable society and economic system
- Community organizing as a response to the need for equitable spaces in our world
In this time great challenges love means participating, as we are able, in public leadership with our neighbors on behalf of our neighborhoods and the earth. We lead as saints and sinners, that is as people without all the answers and being open to new perspectives.
The love of God begins with God’s radical embrace of our lives in the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus invites us to join him in love of self, neighbors, neighborhoods and the earth.
God is bringing healing and creation to the whole world.
So that we can participate deeply in God’s healing love for us, our neighbors, neighborhood and the earth Jesus calls us to lives of discipleship – lives of learning that we are loved and learning how join in the risking love of God.