Monday, April 16, 2007

Blog talkers last week

On the catch up again, i like this one, partly because it is so easy to respond to...

...harder to live by.

What three main rules, standards, or morals do you live by?
Well my answer is straightforward and comes straight from Jesus! This is not to try and sound all 'high-fallutin'' but because as one of the first Bible verses i ever learnt off by heart this has had a profound effect on my life for as long as I can remember.

Mark 12.29-31

29Jesus answered, ‘The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” 31The second is this, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’

This was Jesus' response to the question 'what is the greatest commandment' but i do think it breaks down into three parts (rather handily)

Love God - with everything you are, no limits - heart, soul, mind and strength. Some people seem to major on one thing or the other - an emotional engagment (heart) at the expense of encountering God in the dark and difficult places (soul) or without turning on their brain (mind) or only to the extent that they can be bothered (strength) or on a 'spiritual' level, again without engaging brain, or whatever (you can work out all the combinations!) Faith is about engaging God, encountering God, experiencing God, thinking about God, loving and serving God with everything we are.

Love neighbour - Faith cannot turn inwards, it's not just about getting what I want out of God or church or whatever, but about drawing others into the love of God. This might mean spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ in preaching, sharing faith, practical ways, listening, talking, praying with and for people. In proclaiming this Jesus makes clear that faith is about engaging with the real world, in spiritual, social, real life ways.

Love self - often neglected within the church, probably as a reaction to the 'me' culture we inhabit. God, though, thinks we are worth dying for. God loves us as we are, warts and all, and we need to love ourselves in order that we can know that love which makes it possible to truly love others. We are too often guilty of a 'worm that I am' mentality which actually seems to go against what God thinks of us. Knowing our unworthiness and sinfulness is not that same as self-hatred. Denying self, as Jesus called us to do, is about denying self-centredness, not about denying self worth.

So that's my three, a mini sermon - free of charge!


Brian said...

Al - These verses are great and, for me, encapsulate the whole faith business. They are probably my favourite verses, although if you asked me to name/quote verses, I am rubbish. The thing I really like about these, is that Jesus is quoting the Schema, which is in Deutronomy 10 (ish - somewhere). For me, this shows Jesus fulfilling, and not replacing, the law.

Anyway, do you have actions and a 'rap' for us to learn this Bible Verse with?

Dr.John said...

Your mimi sermons are as good as your big ones.