Love Your Neighbor

Today I wanted to do something different. So I went to Unity Church. John Shelby Spong, a retired Epicopal bishop, preached on the Gospel of John.

Basically, he said, the gospel was made up. He said – how can you trust something written three generations after a person lived? The John Gospel, he said, was written 70 years after Jesus’ crucifixion.

The bishop told the story of the woman at the well. She was not judged. The conversation at the well was a metaphor for peaceful coexistence. (This is my interpretation of the sermon). Although the two at the well had different faiths, they shared the same god. And god does not belong to any one faith. The sermon inspired me to love without judging.

Spong concluded the sermon,
“It’s not that Christianity has failed, it’s that it hasn’t been tried yet.” I agree – we have not tried a radical love of neighbor and a deep tolerance for difference.

As I rode my bike from the church at Symphony Space along Broadway, I thought, yes, but if we are all sisters and brothers, why are we so divided? This message of brotherhood has not been the prevailing message of mainstream Christianity.

I went to Unity because I didn’t want to hear about the historical Jesus. I needed a spiritual boost – a personal empowerment. I am in a transitional mode (will let you know more as it develops!) and I wanted something personal, inspirational, and self help-y.

The last time I was at Unity, pastor Paul Tenaglia offered these affirmations:

“God has the right and perfect well-paying work as a New York artist for me.”

“I believe I have a natural abundance;
prosperity is mine;
I have unlimited success in my creativity.”

“Divine love blesses and increases in me.”

I liked those affirmations – and today’s sermon too. God is there – in love for self and neighbor.

Then, I went and bought a Christmas tree on Broadway.


One thought on “Love Your Neighbor

  1. Hi Marybeth! Interestingly I received this post on facbk same time I received a podcast on ‘Happiness’ from my favorite pastor/author, Tim Keller. I was wondering if you ever visited Redeemer community church on 150 W 83( bet Amsterdam and Columbus)- in your hood i believe?
    Tim is amazing. A passionate intellect on the scriptures and awesome to listen and learn from. I hear all his podcasts bec I obviously can not see him in person 😦 but LOVE when he teaches! I have a couple of his bestselling books but much prefer to listen.
    He isn’t always at the west side community church bec he also goes to East side services and downtown as well, (all,at 11 am i think) so you never know what Sunday he will be there, but they have other good teachers as well ( My best friend goes to east side)
    Anyway, would love to know if you know of Tim, have ever been/passed by on west side and if you liked this below sermon on ‘happiness’. ( i will also inbox you on facbk)
    Hope all is well with you and family!
    Love maura

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