Psalm 146:1-2, 5-10
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, my soul!
I will praise him as long as I live;
I will sing to my God all my life.
Happy are those who have the God of Jacob to help them
and who depend on the Lord their God,
the Creator of heaven, earth, and sea,
and all that is in them.
He always keeps his promises;
he judges in favor of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free
and gives sight to the blind.
He lifts those who have fallen;
he loves his righteous people.
He protects the strangers who live in our land;
he helps widows and orphans,
but takes the wicked to their ruin.
The Lord is king forever.
Your God, O Zion, will reign for all time.
The Great Commandment
A teacher of the Law was there who heard the discussion. He saw that Jesus had given the Sadducees a good answer, so he came to him with a question: “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
Jesus replied, “The most important one is this: ‘Listen, Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment more important than these two.”
The teacher of the Law said to Jesus, “Well done, Teacher! It is true, as you say, that only the Lord is God and that there is no other god but he. And you must love God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength; and you must love your neighbour as you love yourself. It is more important to obey these two commandments than to offer on the altar animals and other sacrifices to God.”
Jesus noticed how wise his answer was, and so he told him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
After this nobody dared to ask Jesus any more questions.
The community would have been so very familiar with this commandment that was recalled daily through spoken and ritual prayer. Its very simplicity reminds us of the depth held in actively living a prayer. No religious institutions or buildings, nor layered rules, bylaws or denominational separation. These human constructs assist us to recall, honour, be educated and understand Jesus’ teaching and the commandment.
Jesus calls us to actively live it, be it. Across the whole body of Christ, that active living of the Great Commandment will seem quite different – and that’s exactly the joy we have in each being a child of God and living in God’s family. The elements are all there. It just looks different.
When reflecting on this Pablo Picasso painting, I was struck by how it seemed fractured when only perceived from one viewpoint; yet, had everything fully present. Ruptured, yet revealing different perspectives. Offering one and all views at the same time, though some people could still not understand it.
I find it a timely reminder in these fractured times, where dissonance sits in the midst of our spiritual and religious life. The people of God are living and being the Great Commandment.
The elements are all there. It just looks different.
Your Way, O Jesus, is a living prayer!
We, your people, express it so differently.
From a mindset of ‘fractured’, and not multifaceted,
we miss the nuances and endless beauty of the whole people of God.
Enable our eyes to see the grace we each bring;
to hear your wisdom spoken through unexpected voices;
to encourage and be alongside the acts of welcome and kindliness
we, ourselves, could never achieve alone.
Our single vision is so often blinkered and misses the wider perspective.
Together, we gain a deeper understanding of you.
We grow in confidence to love more, be enriched, think deeper, and act with generosity.
We offer ourselves to you again, an element of your whole design,
and, through living prayer, seek to act in your peace-filled, just and loving Way.
© Rev Anne Hewitt 27/10/2021
This reflection & prayer may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.