notes from a small curate
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK
Matt 22 - How do you love people?
Good Shepherd 16/10/2005 (Communion Service)
1 Thessalonians 2.1-8, Matthew 22.34-end
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbour as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'
- When do we hear these words? [Introduction to the confession]
- When did Jesus say these words?
[In the Matthew passage - Jesus having a discussion with people trying to work out who he was, what he was teaching, and perhaps to try to trip him up. They asked him, 'Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?']
- There's another story where these words are spoken - can you remember what it is?
[Parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25:
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' " "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbour?" In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho ... "
"Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."]
Who is our neighbour? [make list - in blue, below]
[Pip's question]: How do you love people?
[My answers ... Pip's answers ... what others have said]
[Invite people to share their answers in pairs]
[Display list of 'neighbours' ... and invite answers to the question, how do you love these people? - in red, below]
Conclusion: Our answers help us to see how we might love our neighbours as ourselves - how we might be able to obey the second commandment. The first commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind. I think that in the small, imperfect ways we try to love others, we are also loving God. Because, as Jesus said in another famous conversation he had, "if you do this for the least of these brothers of mine, you do it for me.'
Based on a conversation over a cup of coffee in London with Pip Wilson, as blogged about by me, here, and originally by Pip, here