Pondering for Sunday, October 31, 2021

Part 1 of 2

Daily Office Readings for Sunday of Proper 26: Year 1

Morning, Psalms 24 and  29; Evening,  Psalms 8 and 84:
Nehemiah 5:1 to 19Acts 20:7 to 12Luke 12:22 to 31:

“A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in the window, began to sink off into a deep sleep while Paul talked still longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground three floors below and was picked up dead.  But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, and said, ‘Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.’ Then Paul went upstairs, and after he had broken bread and eaten, he continued to converse with them until dawn; then he left. Meanwhile they had taken the boy away alive and were not a little comforted.” (Acts 20: 9 to 12)

As a preacher, I try hard not to preach anyone to death.  Jokes aside, Paul stops and goes down to the young man and proclaims “his life is in him.”  If we go to sleep in a Gospel reading, or a Gospel hymn, or a spiritual reading as an end to our day, our life is still in us even if we die. And angels will take us away alive.

Part 2 of 2

New Testament Eucharistic Readings for Sunday of Proper 26: Year B

Hebrews 9:11-14 and Mark 12:28-34

“Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you 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.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  (Mark 12: 29 to 31

Different biblical English translations have different wordings being asked of our Lord Jesus. Some ask, “which is the greatest of the Commandments?”  Some ask, “Which is first of the Commandment?  And, some ask, “Which is the most important of the Commandments?  However, in all of them, it seems the asker is looking for a single commandment answer. Our Lord Jesus gives a compound response. First is to love our Creator God with all that we are, in strength, in mind, in soul and in heart. And then, as if either not concerned about it being a one or two point answer; or, that the part two is so closely attached to the first that it cannot be separated, Jesus informs us that we are to then, and only then, love other human beings as we love ourselves. And yes, we are to love ourselves as a fellow human being but only after loving God first.

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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