Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
The Whitney Vision: to be a school of love where we learn to love God, one another, ourselves, and creation as Jesus teaches.
We believe that Love is the living, breathing essence of God expressed as patience and kindness, that bears all things, rejoices in truth, and endures forever. God’s love is radically inclusive and indiscriminate. When we sing the prayer “Be Thou My Vision,” we know that learning to love is learning to see with God’s eyes. This love is the basis of church: a community from which no one and no thing in creation is excluded. To be a school of love is to learn and grow together in love, sharing and encouraging each other in love, through love; it is learning to love God, one another, ourselves, and creation. Recognizing that we all fall short (Romans 3:23), we want to be an example of love, continually practicing godlike love amongst ourselves and among those we meet.
We invite you to join us in this practice.
God’s love is always at hand, always already here forgiving us our failures to see it. And so, the first gift that a church community can give to those who come is the acceptance of God’s love, allowing and helping one another to rest in being infinitely loved. This is a place to heal the brokenness of shame, guilt, anger, and more, that we have absorbed from our broken communities. No one is excluded from the community of God’s love; there is no enemy or unrighteous to whom God does not give the rain of life and the sun of love (Matthew 5:44-45). At Whitney, we want our church to be the kind of healing place Christ intended, a place to rest and receive, when we are weary in body, mind, or spirit.
Yet the wonder of God’s love in our lives does not stop at this radical welcome. Love is a frequency we are built to fall in tune with, so that when the conditions are right, resting in God’s love gives way to the loving action prompted by feeling God’s grace in our lives (James 2:18). Our positive, affirming love is God living through us: “If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12) And so, our school of love is also a place to work together in open love. We want our school of love to be a workshop for ongoing vocational training in loving. The many kinds of work we do require many different gifts, but different gifts all find their meaning and worth in one love; without love, our other gifts are nothing. (1 Corinthians, 12 and 13).
Whitney’s School Uniform – “Love is the basic, all-purpose garment.”
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Colossians 13: 12-14
A “Venn Diagram” of Divine Love
Learning to love God, one another,
ourselves, and creation as Jesus teaches
When asked what commandments are greatest, Jesus said that “all the law and the prophets” depend on two commandments to love: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22: 37-39)
Someone might ask, “If I use all my love in loving God, what love is left for my neighbor or myself?”
This image illustrates an answer. Since the red heart represents loving God with all our love, then loving neighbor and self can only be aspects of loving God and God’s good creation.
Some of what the image implies:
– Christ is coequal with the Creator, in perfect relation through the Spirit of Love.
– In loving our neighbor, we love a member of the divine family. (Matthew 25:40)
– Each of us is made in the Image of God, who is love.
– It would not mean much to love our neighbors as ourselves, if we did not love ourselves, as Brian McLaren puts it, “with divine compassion.”
– The best understanding of oneself is as belonging to God.
– As created in God’s image we are all part of, and owe our loving care to, God’s good creation (Genesis 1).
– The intersection of human beings’ mutual Christian love centers on the intersection of eternity and time represented by the vertical and horizontal members of the cross of Christ.
– All are loved and welcome: and ALL MEANS ALL