Reflection for Sunday October 25, 2020
21st Sunday after Penticost
Readings Deuteronomy 34:1-2, Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17, 1 Thessalonians2:1-8,Matthew 22:34-46
Bless your servant, O God
And favour us with your steadfast love.
May your love flow through us
Like springs of living water,
That we may rejoice and be glad
All the days of our lives. Amen
Reflection – Matthew 22: 34-46
In the Matthew reading the Pharisees are testing Jesus’s knowledge of the law. Their intention is to catch him off guard and defeat him. Their question is which of the commandments of the Law is the greatest commandment? Jesus answers without hesitation “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and all of yo9ur mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself. All the law and prophets hang on these two commandments.”
At first glance Jesus has simplified how we are to live our lives. Love God and love our neighbours and we have qualified for the green light to heaven. Simple isn’t it? Well it wasn’t until I started asking questions of myself like; do I really love God with all of my heart, mind and soul? My temptation was to say “of course I do” but the next thought was what would that look like? Our thoughts, actions and deeds need to match in order to demonstrate that love.
I know that often I find myself in a state of ecstasy as a walk surrounded by forest and river, the dome of a blue sky hearing the songs of a variety of birds. I am overwhelmed by gratitude for experiencing such perfection and awe for the gifts of God. Sometimes when I meditate and I achieve a stillness of mind I feel the presence and love of God and I know that all is well. Conversely, unfortunately these are not states that I can maintain for any duration. My thoughts my mood and state of mind seems to easily be drawn to the negative influences of worldly events. The only way I have discovered to at least keep my foot in the door of basking in God’s love is to regularly practise praying, meditation and gratitude. So much for the green light to heaven, I recognize that I am often running a yellow light the light of caution.
The second commandment of Love thy neighbour as the self would seem simple enough to achieve. When I ask myself how successful and consistent I am with this commandment, truthfully I am again running on a yellow light. Sometimes it is my ego, sometimes my fear of people that makes me act rather defensively, rather than out of love. Ultimately the practise of forgiveness for both myself and others, is what will set me free and allow me to change from fear, perhaps hatred to loving others.
I have attempted to reflect on how well I keep those two commandments in an honest fashion. It would be easier to lie to myself, it is uncomfortable to know how far I have yet to go and how aware I must be to keep on the right path. Keeping these two commandments Jesus says are paramount to keeping all the others. It is my hope and intent that anyone reading this reflection will take some time to honestly reflect on their own success of abiding by these two commandments. Despite our good intensions, we all have frailties and flaws that get in our way. The grace of God and the power of forgiveness are the gifts we are given to help us get back on our path as true servants of God. On that path we build and add to the great power of love and healing. Amen.
And now we give a final word of thanks: thanks to the One who is Creator and Creating. Be aware of what is around you and know that God is with you, in water, land, air and sky. Know that God is continually creating within you. Never stop learning about this world that is ours as stewards, that is God`s gift to us and to all creation. Know this earth as an expression of God`s love and live in gratitude. Amen.
From the Gathering – Peter Chynowith