Lectionary Readings for 9/26/21:
Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29
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Love is a Verb
Our readings for this Sunday are packed with actions... God’s action, our action, actions against sin and actions that save. As diverse as they are, all of the actions in these readings have something in common. They are all expressions of love. In the Psalm we have a list of God’s actions as follows.
- God’s law converts the soul.
- God’s testimony brings wisdom.
- God’s statutes bring joy and rejoicing.
- The commandments enlighten.
- God’s law brings both warning and reward.
In the Hebrew, each of these nouns is a synonym for the Law which was a gift from our loving Father. Though the Law could not and cannot save souls, it was given as a means to be in close relationship with God and to show us how far we are from Him if we rely on our own merit. The Law is meant to touch our souls, convey wisdom and bring joy. The judgment it speaks of is desirable. It is a source of hope. God gave the law because he wanted a close relationship with his people then. He gave us Christ because he wants a close relationship now and eternally. He gave us both out of his great love.
The New Testament reading from James lists a different set of actions…Our “To-Do’s.”If you’re suffering, pray.
- If you’re cheerful, sing Psalms.
- If you are sick, call on the church and pray.
- Confess and pray to and for one another.
Pray, sing praise, confess. All of these are ways to bring us closer to God. All of these are ways we can express love toward God and toward others, the greatest two commandments that encompass all of the commandments, all of the Law.
And then there is a big “DON’T!” and one more shocking “DO!”
- Do not cause others to stumble
- Cut out the limb that sins
Yet, as strongly worded as these are in Mark’s gospel, they are still about love. Our greatest, most loving gift to God and to anybody we meet is to introduce others to Jesus. This is the most pleasing thing to God. And what greater gift is there to our neighbor than to show them the hope of eternity with God.
But what of that bit about cutting and removing. Obviously not meant to be literal, this is a strong way of saying that we must remove anything from our lives that causes God to fall to second place on our list of priorities, or anything that blurs our vision so that we fail to see him standing among us. The church is the people of God and the Church is the bride of Christ. Therefore, “Let everything you do be done in love (1 Cor 16:14).”
e-Devotion author: Bobbie Tomasek.
If you are interested in becoming an e-Devotion author, please contact Pastor Dan at email@example.com or 602.866.9191.
The e-Devotion can also be viewed on the All Saints website.