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The heart of the matter - Chester Cook

Every year, thousands of United Methodists converge on Athens, Ga., for their annual conference.

This year, the theme of the conference comes from an axiom of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism:

"Do no harm, Do good, and Stay in love with God."

Wesley was a practical man, who kept things simple. He knew that we have a tendency to complicate matters and lose focus. Therefore, he provided clear and direct guiding principles to keep our mission plain.

Too often, the mission is compromised by individual and corporate agendas that have nothing to do with the founder's intent or the apostolic commands to love God and each other, and to go into all the world teaching all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Do no harm, is a personal commitment to not be the source of injury to others and the mission.

This action eliminates injury and injustice and allows peace to be maintained. And when it is adhered to, it assures that all energies can be devoted to the positive principle: Do Good.

Do good is the proactive giving of oneself for the well-being of others. Doing good promotes systemic maturity and health in the self and the structure.

Love is the core value of our faith. Love does no harm to his neighbor and promotes the well-being of his neighbor.

I wish I could say that we have been perfect in our love for God and others, but we all know we are not.

Many have been harmed by our intentions and many have lost their way. We confess in our own communion, "We have not loved You with our whole heart and we have not loved our neighbor."

Let us resolve to "Be Love."

If you have any comments on this column, or any other subject, please contact me at chaplain@airportchapel.org.