Friday, November 7, 2008

Sermon for Year A Proper 22

KISS: Love God. Love One Another.

The breath of life.
That is what we each are given.
We are part of God’s creation.

This is a beautiful piece of poetry we heard as our second reading
(James Weldon Johnson's THE CREATION)
I recognize that it is not very inclusive of women.
But we women know
God gave us the breath of life as well
And we too are created in God’s image.

This piece was written in 1927.
The world has changed a great deal since then.
Yet the beauty of James Weldon Johnson’s words
still touches us today.

We are given breath,
our life,
by God.

We then have quite a journey of free will
on how we will use that life.

Our scripture readings today are interesting.
The Hebrew people receive the ten commandments.

We’ve let the ten commandments become almost a cliché in our culture.
That’s a mistake.
The ten commandments are
actually the minimum moral code
for how we can survive as a culture.

I read an interesting essay this week by David Gill,
an ethics professor.
He points out that every one of the ten commandments hangs on LOVE.

When Jesus is asked WHAT ARE THE GREATEST OF ALL THE COMMANDMENTS—he replies immediately:
Love God. Love one another.

That’s like giving us the KISS version of the ten commandments.
(KISS standing for Keep it simple, stupid)

Martin Luther said, “Whoever knows the Ten Commandments
perfectly knows the whole of scripture.”

Take that little scripture insert and put it in your pocket.
Pull it out later today or later this week.
And think about your own life and those commandments.
Don’t think about or judge anyone else’s life.
Just think about your own.
Think about your own covenant relationship with God
And how you are doing in keeping up your end of the bargain.

We hear from Jesus in today’s gospel.
That we can lose the whole kingdom
if we forget what is really important,
if we ignore the One who gave us breath, life.

Love God.
Love one another.

Loving God means putting God at the center of our lives.
Not work, not money, not success, not even family—
but God.
That’s not easy.

But even more difficult is loving one another.
Imagine a day without being critical of someone.
Without spreading or listening to a tidbit of gossip.
Imagine a day without blaming someone else
when things don’t go as you want.

Imagine a day when every minute you just felt
overwhelmed by love.
We need these commandments.
We need to remember who it was that gave us life.
We need to remember who the Creator is.
Who it is who gives us everything.
And we need to live lives of thanksgiving.
How do we do that?

Love God.
Love one another.

And how do we do that?

Practice love every day.
And saying your prayers never hurts either.

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