Our Savior Jesus gave us two commands:
To love the Lord God with all our hearts,
and to love others as we love ourselves.
Let us take a moment to breathe
and reflect on these commands.
(pause to take a breath)
Love is not something we accomplish.
Love is not something we do on our own.
Love begins in the simplicity of presence.
These commands of Jesus are a circle,
not a task to complete. When we love
God with all that we have and when
we love each other as we want to be
loved, it multiplies and expands.
May we love in response to God’s
eternal and expanding love,
today and forever more.
We pray in the name of
God, our Creator,
Jesus, our Savior
and the Holy Spirit,
our Breath of Life.
We invite you to hear from the book of Ruth chapter 1 and the Gospel of Mark 12:32-34.
Ruth 1 In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land,
and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab,
he and his wife and two sons… 3 But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died,
and she was left with her two sons.
4 These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the
other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Chilion
also died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.
6 Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country
of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the LORD had
considered his people and given them food…
11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me?
Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands?
16 But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from
following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
From the Book of Mark… 32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right,
Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’;
33 and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with
all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more
important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him,
“You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one
dared to ask him any question.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.
Homily and Reflection
What haunted ways are you tempted to view yourself or a challenging situation in your life?
How does being “not far” from God’s Reign of Love invite you to see yourself or situation differently as we come to the table?
Vox family, as we begin this week,
may you be surrounded by love –
Love that gives you strength to face
deep divisions and disagreements.
Love that shows you kindness when
you admit that you’re wrong.
Love that covers over your judgement so that
you’re free to pass this love to your enemies,
neighbors, families, coworkers, and friends.
May this love empower you to forgive –
not just those who have wronged you,
but also yourselves, for as much as we
can love, we have been shown a love
that is a thousand times greater.
In the name of God, the Creator,
Christ, the Risen One,
and the Holy Spirit, our Breath of Life.
Go in peace, and live the church.
May you find belonging and community this week.
[Photo by Eugene Chystiakov]