TURNING in the Direction of Love

The way of love by the episcopal church

By Fr. Chris Harris

Watch this before reading.

In our baptism, we promise that with God’s help, we will turn from the powers of sin, hatred, fear, injustice, and oppression toward the way of truth, love, hope, justice, and freedom. In turning, we reorient our lives to Jesus Christ, falling in love with Jesus again, again, and again. I recently preached on the idea of “turning” our lives into the direction of Jesus as a kind of first step in a life of faith. In that sermon I also mentioned that we are currently studying seven spiritual practices which together can help shape us in “The Way of Love” — and turning is the first.

Choosing to turn our lives in the direction of Jesus is not accidental, it requires intention. As Jesus tells us in the book of John, “whoever serves me must follow me and where I am there will my servant be also.” Turning doesn’t have to change who you are, but it will change where you’re going. Obeying the call to turn, means recognizing the things we put first in our lives, examining them and asking tough questions: Are my priorities pointing me toward God or away from God? Are they helping me live the Way of Love, or are the in the way?

Finally, choosing to turn is not a one-time event but an ongoing, lifelong practice of redirecting our steps as often as we are reminded to. And so it is helpful to have a community of fellow travelers with whom we share the journey. Those who can inspire us, encourage us, pray for us and challenge us, to stay on the path.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Scripture is full of people, from Moses to Matthew, who turn from their old life, to a new life of greater trust in God. Was there a time in your life when God called you out of an old life and into new life?
  2. Can you think of a time when you were spiritually lost and had to find your way back to God? What helped you turn, and find your way home?
  3. When you get off track, who or what helps you to turn back toward Jesus Christ and the Way of Love?
  4. Is there something you are prioritizing in your life that is not life-giving? Is there something that occupies your mind or your time, that is pointing you away from God? What do you need to turn away from right now, to more fully embrace the Way of Love?
  5. How about the other side of that coin? Is there something that you feel God is calling you to turn toward?


Putting it into action:

What might you do to put TURN into action in your life? Is there a practice that comes to mind? What new habit might you incorporate into your life to help you turn toward the Way of Love?
Here are some ideas to get you thinking and praying about what God might be putting on your heart today:

  • Praying the Confession found in the Book of Common Prayer (p. 79)
  • Forgive someone who wronged you. Read through Form One or Form Two of Reconciliation of a Penitent (Book of Common Prayer, pp. 447, 449)
  • Read Psalm 51 each morning or night
  • Practice the Daily Examen – a 15min review of you day — before bed each night
  • Create a habit of giving thanks for the blessings of life – gratitude practice, praying before dinner, etc.
  • Commit to serving the community once a month (here are some opportunities)
  • Read a short devotional (such as “Forward Day by Day”) each morning before you begin the day, or at night before bed.


Some additional considerations:

  1.  What resources, including people, do I need to support this practice?
  2. What do I need to stop doing to make room for this practice in my life?
  3. How do I hope I will change as a result of incorporating this practice into my life?
  4. Who or what will hold me accountable?


Want to join with others as we practice the Way of Love? For more information, email Rev. Chris Harris here.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Chris, we are all in your debt for sharing this real and specific advice about how to get out of the rut of pious sleep-walking I so often find my self drawn to. Your directive that turning is INTENTIONAL could not be clearer. This is a true pastoral exhortation–something episcopalians are not always used to hearing. Thank you again.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *