Daily Office Readings for Monday of the Second Week of Advent: Year 1
“All the paths of the Lord are love and faithfulness to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” (Psalm 25:9)
Our Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Curry, has said of our Church that we are the Episcopal path of the Jesus movement. I like it! There are several Christian paths to God. And just as there are several Christian paths, Christianity is only one of several faith traditions that the people of the world cling to for reconciliation to God. Judaism and Islam are a couple of other well established faith paths.
Of these three, Judaism is the oldest, and in fact, Christianity has its roots in Judaism. The Psalmist says, “All the paths of the Lord are love and faithfulness to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” Keeping covenant is something we have failed to do over and over again. The Bible records over and over again how the People of Israel fail to keep covenant with God and then go into repentance and God saves us again. It makes no difference if covenant is made up of two laws (Love God and love your neighbor), or, if covenant is 613 laws from the Hebrew Testament. We repeatedly fail and must call on God for salvation. Failure requires love and faith.
Love is expressed in all of the three mentioned religious traditions. There is love of deity and love of fellow human being. There should be no room for jealousy or hatred within our faith path or of another faith tradition. We are all God’s children. And God loves us all the same. All humanity is favored. There is no one group within humanity favored over another.
Faith is the other necessary component of a religion. We must understand that there is a Master of Creation, the Creator and Maintainer. There is a Presence larger and far more important than ourselves. It is in this Presence that we place our trust. This trust is for the benefit of life in creation: a creation held together by the love of the Creating Maintainer.
Love and faith make up the Christian covenant (and perhaps others faith covenants) that our Lord Jesus left for us Christians. We are to love the Lord our God with all that we are. We are also to trust in the lord in all situations, no matter what. And the second is like onto it, we are to love our neighbor as our self, (which includes loving ourselves). Our faith is a path that the Holy One uses to enter our heart. From our heart, the Holy One spreads love. “All the paths of the Lord are love and faithfulness to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.”
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John