Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sermon: October 28

A priest waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump.

"Reverend," said the young man, "I'm so sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip."

The priest chuckled, "I know what you mean. It's the same in my business."
Thanks Harry for that one.

How do we get ready for that long trip?

For Moses, the map for their long trip to the promised land was on Mt. Sinai with the giving of the Ten Commandments.

In our first reading from Leviticus, we are reminded of those commandments as again the Lord speaks to Moses to have the people honor each other. “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.”

In the Gospel reading, Jesus is once again challenged. Jesus is asked, “Which commandment in the law is the greatest?"

Our own Catechism (in the back of the BCP) reminds us that The Ten Commandments were given to define our relationship with God and our neighbors.

So instead of just picking one of Ten Commandments or any other, Jesus reminds us of our relationships that begin with God.
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."
It is an ethic of love; what matters most? Our relationship, our love of God and the love of our neighbors as ourselves, they are connected.
As Thomas Merton put it, “God does not give His joy to us for ourselves alone, and if we could possess God for ourselves alone we would not possess God at all. Any joy that does not overflow from our soul and help others to rejoice in God does not come to us from God.” 
Our love & joy that come from above, come from God & must be shared. The two commandments are connected with each other.

Bishop Dinis Sengulane spoke at convention on Friday (he will preach next Sunday here!) – and he reminded us that we are to be Jesus to each other; we are to see Jesus in others; we are God’s fragrance – that will bring love and hope and peace to our world.

What might this fragrance look like as we think about to the Gospel for today? How do we love?

Surrounded by family and friends, they exchange their wedding vows. They love each other - there's no question. Each is the other's most cherished and trusted friend. But they are understandably nervous. They know the other's quirks and flaws - and each realizes that they are not the easiest person in the world to live with, either. They also know that their dreams and hopes for their own lives will now be joined to the those of the other - and that means compromise, understanding and sacrifice. They are very much aware that loving with all your heart is a big risk . . .

She has gotten into trouble again, and again she has to be bailed out. The family has been through this before. She is deeply sorry, resolves to change, and begins to clean up her act - but quickly stumbles again. One more bad decision, one more irresponsible lapse of judgment. But her family is always there to lift her back up, to help put the pieces of her life back together. The pattern has gotten tiresome and they often resent it; helping her demands more sympathy and energy than they can manage. They have learned the risk of loving with all your soul . . .

Business has been painfully slow. His CFO advises him that people are going to have to be let go. But some of these folks have been working for him since day one. Nobody would blame him if he just closed the whole operation down; everyone knows the numbers and the market. But these are people's lives and the lives and futures of their families. So he and his management team keep at it, committed to keeping the operation going, no matter what it takes. Make no mistake, loving with one's whole mind often requires a huge risk . . .

We are not called to love the Lord our God with half a heart, part of a mind, or a smidge of spirit: To truly love our neighbor as ourselves demands that we risk ourselves. Our vocation as parents, our belonging to a family or community, the jobs we choose all require to risk all that we are and have in order to love as fully and as completely as God asks. Mistakes may be made, the results may disappoint - but what if no one is willing to risk it for the sake of transforming our world in the compassion, reconciliation and mercy of God? (from Connections)
We have been given that road map for God loves each & every one of you! May we in turn embody such love: Love God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, & Love your Neighbor as yourself.

On these two commandments, hang all the law and the prophets, hang the Bible, hang life itself. May we be worthy. Amen.

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