Someone once said to my husband that Jesus was a conservative. My husband’s response was “he was so conservative that he got himself killed.” If we pay attention to the ministry of Christ he was radical. He went against the mores of his day in so many ways. He ate with tax collectors, acknowledged women, healed lepers and preached love for all humankind. If we could live as he did it would be a revolution. Prepare by pondering on this.
Matthew 22:36-40 [Full Chapter].
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If only we could live out these two commandments. How much is it to ask? There are no lists of do’s and don’ts just two simple statements. However, for us flawed humans they are the hardest things to do. If only the whole world could live this way!
When we become part of a group we often want to show people how important we are. We want to be important in everyone’s eyes. We want to be special and accepted. So we set out to do things that make us stand out. The part we forget is it is not those things that make other people see us. It is our caring and our sharing of ourselves and our possessions and our love that set us apart. We gain the respect and admiration of others by how we show our caring.
We have been called to love our neighbor as ourselves and it is in this way that we are granted affection and love in return.
1 Thessalonians 2:8
8 So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.
For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10:30-31 NRSV
We all know people that we would love to have suffer for the wrongs that they have done. We would love to see evil befall them. However, God tells us that no matter how much we want to see them suffer it is not our place to take vengeance.
So many evils in this world come abut because of someone’s selfish, uncaring ways. People are hurt or seriously damaged and we can’t understand how they can get away with continuing to live that way and nothing happens. It seems that the good suffer and the evil thrive. How can God let this happen. That is one of the most difficult questions but part of the hope we see is here in these verses. It is definitely fearful to fall into the hands of the living God and have to answer for how we lived. Trust the Lord.
Prayer: Loving God, help us to trust you to render judgement. Remind us that is not our place but yours. We are called to forgive instead of seeking vengeance. Help us to follow in the ways of our Lord, Jesus Christ. AMEN
Happy are those who consider the poor;
the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.
We don’t want to see the poor and needy. It disturbs us. Probably because we feel guilty about not doing something. We see homeless people on the streets and they are dirty, wear layers of clothing (have everything they own on their backs) and often smell bad. They are not pleasant to be around. They often beg for money and we generally assume that they will use the money for liquor or drugs. Hoe much we assume! I wonder if we would fee the same way if we knew their story.
Christ calls us to give out of our abundance. Maybe we think we don’t have much to give but by comparison we are very rich. The psalmist tells us that we will be happy if we help…that help will come to us in our time of need if we do. It reminds me of the saying “what goes around, comes around!” If we do nothing that could be a scary thought.
Prayer. God of the homeless and needy . Help us to not pass by when we encounter the poor. Le us see the incredible plenty that we have and inspire us to share. Remind us that we, also could be one of those in need but for your grace. AMEN
65 You have dealt well with your servant,
O Lord, according to your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
for I believe in your commandments.
We all need to be taught. We slip so easily into doing the wrong thing. We have to be reminded that we stray from God’s path. There is so much to tempt us. We are bombarded with TV programs that make love of others and kindness seem outdated. Violence is present in computer and video games. The exposure make it seem “normal.” God calls us to turn away from hatred and turn back to love and compassion. We need to be taught God’s ways not those of the world.
Ephesians 4:31-32 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
This world needs this verse from Ephesians. Everyone seems so angry. So much division and hatred. It seems to me to every major religion in its pure form teaches peace, compassion and love. Put away your anger and bitterness and every day show your love for one another.
Lord God, the people affected by Dorian need your loving and healing hands. Send your grace to uphold them. Their anguish is great. Give them peace and hope in the days to come. Remind us all to help where we can and be generous with the gifts you have given us. We pray to you in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Amen
Today as I watched the forecast for the hurricane I thought about how to pray about it. Normally I would just pray that the storm would not hit us but then I thought how selfish that prayer is. As I wishing that I would hit someone else? It does look as if it will land somewhere on the southern coast so I need to direct my prayers in a different way.
Lord, guard and keep all those who are in the path of Hurricane Dorian. Give them strength and courage during the storm. Help them as they recover from any damage and give them the strength to help others as well. Hold in your loving arms those in the tropics who have been hit so hard in the recent past and help us to aid them where we can. We pray in your Holy Name. AMEN