Sunday 10th May 2020

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May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day to day,

by His love and power controlling all I do and say.

May his beauty rest upon me as I seek to make him known,

so that all may look to Jesus, seeing him alone.

(Kate Barclay Wilkinson 1859-1928)

Our Covenant verse for this year is (Deuteronomy 6: 4-5)

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength (energy)’,

but once we move into the New Testament section of the bible, we find that this verse has been added to – we are also told to love God with all our mind. Perhaps this came about through Israel being invaded by both the Greek and Roman Empires, and so bringing with them a greater emphasis on what we people think about.

In today’s bible reading we find Jesus happily accepting this extended version of Deuteronomy 6: 4-5 perhaps this is because it doesn’t change the essence of this verse, but in fact enhances the original meaning - that we love God with all that we are – with everything we have – body, mind and spirit.

Sing along to a song we often sing together. YouTube: ‘The power of your love’ or if you search for ‘Lord I come to you’ Janet found the song being sung to a video of an eagle, (I'll rise up like an eagle, and I will soar with you) but there aren’t any lyrics displayed on this video.

Read about a well-known occasion when Deut. 6: 4-5 is quoted in the New Testament: Luke 10: 25-37   

The people listening to Jesus were Jews and they would never show kindness to any Samaritan because they knew that Samaritans would never show any kindness to them. Jesus makes the most unlikely person the hero of his story to illustrate what it means to love God with all our heart, soul and energy. This ‘Good Samaritan’ is demonstrating the same unconditional love that God shows us and the same love God asks us to show towards everyone – regardless of whether we think they deserve it or not.

Perhaps over the last 48 days you have seen or heard about the most unlikely people demonstrating acts of kindness – being ‘a Good Samaritan’ isn’t only something done by Christians, but while others may choose to behave in this way, we as followers of Jesus, as people who love God - are instructed to be ‘Good Samaritans’ showing unconditional kindness as evidence of our love for God.

Luke’s gospel then goes on to tell us about what happened soon afterwards, read Luke 10: 28-42.

If Mary and Martha were not actually present at the previous event, I’m sure the disciples would have told them about this latest story from Jesus, which then might cause us to ask: Is Martha asking Jesus to tell her sister, Mary to be a ‘Good Samaritan’ and help her? Regardless of the motivation for the question, Jesus doesn’t give Martha the answer she wanted to hear! You can’t command someone to be the type of ‘Good Samaritan’ Jesus describes, but perhaps his response to Martha is about learning how to more effectively fulfil Deuteronomy 6: 4-5, so as to then be able to be a ‘Good Samaritan’. Jesus is perhaps asking Martha to consider how important he feels it is for us to first immerse ourselves in learning about God, so that our love for him knows no limits and then we will more naturally show through our actions the unconditional love of God – and be a ‘Good Samaritan’.

We need to spend time ‘sat at Jesus’ feet’ to understand more fully how to love God with all that we are, and then we will be better equipped to show that same love to other people. Lock-down has made it more difficult for us to be ‘a Martha’ showing our love for Jesus through practical actions, but lock-down has also given us more opportunity to be ‘a Mary’ and ‘sit at Jesus’ feet’ and discover what it means to love the lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind.

Listen to YouTube: ‘Fellowship Uninterrupted’

Although because of lock-down it is more difficult to turn our love for God into showing love for our neighbour, it isn’t impossible, so use the lyrics below to lead you into prayer asking God to ‘open your eyes’ to ways in which you can practically show God’s love to other people.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, open the eyes of my heart.

I want to see You, I want to see You.

To see You high and lifted up, shining in the light of Your glory.

Pour out Your power and love, as we sing holy, holy, holy.

(Paul Baloche © 1997 Integrity Hosanna! Music)

When we love God with all that we are and begin to show other people the same love we experience God showing us, then we begin to be the answer to the prayer we so often pray: Thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Listen to, or sing along with - YouTube: ‘Build your kingdom here lyrics’

Some of you have been praying for Julia and her 4-year-old daughter. Julia tested negative but other staff members at the supermarket where she works have tested positive. Julia still feels unwell.

I look forward to writing to you again on Wednesday - Stephen

Page last updated: 12th May 2020 7:55 PM