When we make God our first love, God directs that love to the horizontal dimension. To people. Any vertical expression of love for God can be judged by the quality of our horizontal expression of love. That is why Dorothy Day said, “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” Because of Jesus’ vertical relationship to God, his horizontal relationship with humanity bears this out. This is not an enshrining of condescension but an enfleshing of Jesus’ comprehension of the human condition. Jesus’, high up-ness is only matched by his go low ness… down into our lives and our lostness. Down into our arrogance and ignorance. Covid with all of its harm and hurt has also helped us. Helped us to see that there are people in our midst who need what Jesus has shared with us. “If you love me, feed my sheep,” Jesus said. His request couldn’t be any clearer. We grow churches in the horizontal and vertical dimensions because Jesus told us to. Because there are hungry people all around us. Even us. People with their backs against the wall.
An excerpt from Bishop Wright’s Sermon at The Diocese of Atlanta’s 115th Annual Council