Loving God

Gate Pa
(Pentecost 20, 30th Sunday in Ordinary time)
Psalm: :                       Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17                                                               
First Reading:                          Deuteronomy 34:1-12                  
Second Reading:        1 Thess 2:1-8                                                                
Gospel:                        Matthew 22: 34-46                                                                           

What I want to say:
The yoke of Jesus changes how we understand the Torah – from rules to obey to earn God’s love and forgiveness, to the way we respond to God and love God with all our heart and mind and soul.
What we also often miss is that these two commandments work together. We love God by loving our neighbour.
Love is not emotion; it is not "liking," "getting along with," "desiring," or "feeling warm about." The "love" Jesus is talking about here is trust, loyalty, enduring devotion, being attached to. You may actually hate your neighbour, but you will still love them in the Biblical sense if you continue to act for their well-being, don't tell lies about them, and refuse to cut off your relationship with them.

What I want to happen:
People to grow in love, of God by growing in commitment, loyalty, working for the wellbeing of their neighbour.

The Sermon

     1.     Introduction:

what was the first half gospel reading today –
'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'  'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.'
well known
so familiar not think about it too often
some believe that this heart of Jesus yoke
            his understanding of and teaching about the Torah
            if you want to know what the good news is, this is it.
if it is heart of his yoke, - then do need pay attention to it.

     2.     Radical

trouble for us
            really familiar
            just seems to make sense
not a lot need think about really.
because of that
miss just how radical reading of Torah – of 10 commandments in particular
how is it radical
seen radical in two ways

     3.     Radical One

how was and still is read by many
Loving God and loving neighbour 2 separate statements
            reading Loving God all important
            loving neighbour came down line importance
big question certainly those confronting Jesus
how do we love God
            obedience to law - some focus of that all about Temple rites,
observing temple rituals and sacrifices
            Pharisees – especially those away Jerusalem – daily living out all laws
not about earning God’s pleasure and love – becoming worthy
responding to God who chose Israel to be God’s people
            gave them this land
when fulfil obligations as set out in Torah
when obedient to law
            were rightly loving God
primary importance
everything else secondary to that
            first radical elevation of loving neighbour as ourselves to equally important.

     4.     Question

others suggest even more radical teaching than that
            suggest that Jesus went even further
question for them– read them as two statements or one?
not only elevated loving neighbour as self to being equal to loving God
became means by which we love God?
not two equal statements
but one – love God by loving neighbour
rest Torah became means by which we are reminded how to love God by loving neighbour, and we are helped to become people who love God by loving neighbour – don’t have to think about it, just live that way.

     5.     What is love?

Love is not emotion; it is not "liking," "getting along with," "desiring," or "feeling warm about."
The "love" Jesus is talking about here is trust, loyalty, enduring devotion, being committed to.
we will love in the Biblical sense if we act for our neighbours well-being,
            not gossiping or tell lies about them, 
            and refuse to cut off your relationship with them
            continue to work for their wellbeing ahead of our own.

     6.     That is hard

sounds so easy
loving God by loving neighbour a lot harder than Jesus response suggests
while very early church renowned support and ministry among least in their society: slaves, poor, widows, orphans, and dispossessed, sick
once church become arm of state under emperor Constantine
two statements separated
increasingly church taught loving God meant adherence teaching Church
            attending church services
            giving to church
            being good and loyal citizen
loving neighbour increasingly separated
            once again became lesser importance –
church taught needed earn God’s love and forgiveness through all sorts of activities including penitential rites, giving alms, giving to church and to things church deemed right, like crusades.

     7.     Reformation Day

today churches, especially Lutheran churches
remember how on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.
this time religious, social and political revolution
gave rise protestant reformation
reformed family churches – Lutheran and Presbyterian
bibles and services common language people
through translation bible into German
created common German language among Germanic peoples and states
led creation modern Germany some 300 year later
give thanks Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingli and other reformers
time us reflect
how well we hold these statements together
wonder do we love God by other means than loving neighbour
how do we need to be reformed
Wendy and religious life.


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