This week the news is filled with election everything here in America. One cannot escape. And the words people are using are not usually kind or encouraging. It’s time to do some more praying! And it’s time to remember what Jesus had to say about LOVE and the two greatest commandments. This was a part of our reflection at thinplaceNASHVILLE Sunday night and Tuesday night.
READ THE PASSAGE Matthew 22:34-46 in multiple versions
Matthew 22:34-46 The Message (MSG)
When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
As the Pharisees were regrouping, Jesus caught them off balance with his own test question: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said, “David’s son.”
Jesus replied, “Well, if the Christ is David’s son, how do you explain that David, under inspiration, named Christ his ‘Master’?
God said to my Master,
“Sit here at my right hand
until I make your enemies your footstool.”
“Now if David calls him ‘Master,’ how can he at the same time be his son?”
That stumped them, literalists that they were. Unwilling to risk losing face again in one of these public verbal exchanges, they quit asking questions for good.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER and Journal from this week: Feel free to use these passages and respond in writing, art, collage, or poetry some time this week.
- What is God speaking to you about TODAY as you read these passages? Take time to read them again, use different translations to hear it in fresh ways.
- What do you notice that you haven’t noticed before?
- What questions do you have? What questions come up as you read the passage and/or the psalm? Talk to Jesus about them.
- How can you love the Lord more this week? What would this look like? What might need to be different?
- How can you receive the LOVE of Jesus more this week? What would this look like? What would you need to do or stop doing in order to really receive His Love?
- If Loving God is the most important commandment and loving our neighbor is the second most important, why is it we spend so much time fighting and hating?
Who is someone you find it hard to love? WRITE DOWN their name or find a photo of them…. CHOOSE TO PRAY FOR THIS PERSON THIS WEEK.
Who is a person you find it easy to love but you might not pray for regularly? Write down their name and PRAY FOR THEM this week.
The question that keeps me thinking this week is:
If Loving God is the most important commandment and loving our neighbor is the second most important, why is it we spend so much time fighting and hating?
How can we pray instead of live in conflict?
How can we pray for those we have a hard time loving?
My friend Pastor Kara Root and her church community, Lake Nokomis Presbyterian created a great way to pray for our country and those we find it hard to love. This is how it began….“In January 2016 I created a resource to pray for the nation, and my church has used it since then in many contexts and formats (for several years we prayed for our country once a week with this!). It involves 80+ hearts that name different people and groups in our country, to help us tangibly recognize that we all belong to God and we all belong to each other. I have found it to be a very grounding experience to pray this way – it pulls me beyond partisan politics and division toward compassion for each person and tenderness for the country we share.My friend, the incredibly creative worship curator Lilly Lewin and I adapted it into a Lent resource a few years ago, and this week we repackaged this resource for use at home as a way to Pray for the Nation this week and in the coming months. You can use it for your entire church community, small group or as a personal or family devotional practice. “
And if you aren’t American, I ask that you join us to pray for the United States in this crazy time. We so need it!
Also, we can all Light a candle each night as an act and pray for PEACE in the middle of the pandemic and all the unrest of our world.