I am thankful baseball season is finally here! Not just because I love baseball, but it gives me something else to listen to besides the rhetoric and discourse that is taking place in our country today. Republican or Democrat. Liberal or conservative. Right or left. Us and them. Good grief! I never imagined that our world, our country, would ever be so divided. I guess somehow I was hopeful (or maybe naïve) that our world would be drawn together in harmony, peace and unity.
To make matters worse, the same divisions that exist in our world exist in our churches. Often, denominations and churches speak the language of divide and conquer rather than the Gospel of grace, hope, peace and love. And I wonder what our brothers and sisters outside the Church must think about the Jesus we profess to follow. Do others look at us and see God at work in our lives together? Are we people whose lives are life-giving rather than live-draining? Are we the living answer to the prayer of Jesus, “Holy Father, watch over them in your name, the name you gave me, that they will be one just as we are one.” (John 17:11 CEB)?
John Wesley, even though he lived over 200 years ago, anticipated the kind of world we are living in today. He longed for us to practice the disciplines so that when people looked at us they would get a glimpse of Jesus. Wesley believed that we could live such lives, but he also knew that he had to lay out in a simple way what that life would look like.
So Wesley offered what are known as the General Rules of the United Methodist Church. A few years ago, Bishop Rueben Job called these rules “The Three Simple Rules.” Maybe if we all attempted to live our lives according to these rules, we could change our lives, our family, our community, our country and our world.
What are “The Three Simple Rules”?
Do no harm.
Stay in love with God.
Simple, But Not Easy . . .