These are the notes from my sermon on October 26:
Which commandment in the law is the greatest?" Jesus said to him, "`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.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
613 commandments in Hebrew Scriptures
-Jesus lifts out these two; equal importance.
-an ethic of love
Hillel the Elder (famous Jewish religious leader)
-lived during the time of King Herod
-When asked for a summary of the Jewish religion in the most concise terms, Hillel said: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary. Go and study it.” (2nd part)
-Shema (The Lord our God, the Lord is one…)
Love God, Love Neighbor – God loves you!
IRIS (at Diocesan Convention) Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services
· refugee resettlement arm of Episcopal Social Service, Inc., since 1982.
· IRIS has resettled over 4,000 people.
· Last year IRIS welcomed 112 refugees from 19 countries. Nearly one half came from Africa. · IRIS is a program of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.
· Director told a story… a synagogue become a sponsor for a Iraqi refuge family from Baghdad, in thanksgiving the Muslim family joined the Jewish congregation on its first day of the celebration of Sukkoth, Feast of Booths, a week-long harvest Festival.
“As for the disciples, it was not by their fantastic worship, not by their biblical knowledge, not by their insight or wisdom, not by their sanctity, not by their moral uprightness that they would be known to the world. Not by their eloquent or convicting preaching. Not by their buildings, or their budgets would they be known. Not by their faith to move mountains, or by their personal purity would they be singled out as belonging to Jesus. It would be by their love.” (from synthesis, HKO)
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.” (John 13:34)
This is a true story: An eight-year-old boy had a younger sister who was dying of leukemia. His parents explained to him that she needed a blood transfusion and that his blood was probably compatible. They asked if they could test his blood. Sure, he said. The results showed that his blood would be a good match. Then they asked the boy if he would give his sister a pint of blood, that it could be her only chance at living. He said he would like to think about overnight. The next day he went to his parents and said he was willing to donate his blood to his sister. So they took him to the hospital where he was put on a gurney beside his sister. Both of them were hooked up to IVs. A nurse withdrew a pint of blood from the boy, which was then put into the girl’s IV. The boy lay on his gurney in silence while the blood dripped into his sister. The doctor came over to see how he was doing. The boy opened his eyes and asked, “How soon until I start to die?” [Jack Kornfield, cited in Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.]
Whether it’s a neighbor nearby like one’s sister or far away like a refugee family, our calling is simple: Love God, Love Neighbor – God loves you!