August 27, 2017: Be the Church: Love God

Posted on : Aug 25th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

As we continue our series entitled “Be the Church” this Sunday we will look at what it means to love God.  I was examining the large banner we have in the sanctuary with the logo “Be the Church” and it troubled me somewhat that in the list of things we are to do in order to be the Church the imperative to love God was toward the bottom of the list.  Why was it not first on the list especially since our scriptures today are so clear that the first and greatest commandment is to love God?   Our scripture from Deuteronomy tells us we are to “love God with all our heart and soul.”  In our lesson from Matthew, Jesus, in responding to a question from the Pharisees, tells them that the greatest commandment is to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind.  What does it mean to love that way?

I struggle sometimes with the idea of heart and soul especially in the context of loving God.  Many will say that it means to love God with your whole being but how do I love something or someone I cannot see?  I think Jesus gives us insight as to what this means when he quickly follows up the first commandment by saying “And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”.  I can understand what it means to love myself.  I can understand what it means to love my neighbor.  Does this perhaps mean that I demonstrate my love of God by loving my neighbor and myself?  Does loving God mean we are to care for the poor, to forgive often, to protect the environment and so on?  While I believe that God is greater than any one of us or the whole universe I also believe if we understand that everything in creation is of God then we cannot say we love God without loving creation and all that’s in it. Perhaps the list of things on the sanctuary banner isn’t out of order after all. Join us this Sunday as we look deeper into how we understand who God is and in so doing better understand what it means to love God.

Blessings,

George

~ This Sunday’s Scriptures ~

Old Testament Scripture

Deuteronomy 10:12-22

12 So now, O Israel, what does your God require of you? Only to fear your God, to walk in all God’s ways, to love God, to serve God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of your God and the decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well-being. 14 Although heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to God, the earth with all that is in it, 15 yet God’s heart is in love on your ancestors alone and chose you, their descendants after them, out of all the peoples, as it is today. 16 Circumcise, then, the foreskin of your heart, and do not be stubborn any longer. 17 For your God is God of gods, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, 18 who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. 19 You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear God whom alone you shall worship and shall hold fast, and by God’s name you shall swear. 21 God is your praise and is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your own eyes have seen. 22 Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy persons; and now God has made you as numerous as the stars in heaven.

 

New Testament Scripture

Matthew 22:34-40

34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

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