by Rev. Eric Folkerth
As we draw near the end of our “Desert Island Scriptures” series, I thought I’d review with you where we have been these past few weeks in worship.
We started out with the “Main Thing,” the Great Commandment that Jesus gives us:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength…You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
We then unpacked the Parable of the Last Judgment where Jesus speaks to the incarnational reality of all existence, and all people…especially the less fortunate:
“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
Our God is an incarnational God, who calls us to a primary experience of God through seeing God in others.
After this, we moved quickly to the concept of fear, which I suggested to you was a major theme of life and faith. Jesus calms the storm, and asks the Disciples:
He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
We then went to the Hebrew Scriptures and unpacked the passage from Micah, Chapter six:
“And what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”
God calls us to action, as well as contemplation…doing…loving…walking…being just…being loving…being humble…
But! Our faith is also contemplative too. We are called to “learn to be still.” And seeking the quiet stillness — hearing the message, “Be still, and know that I am God!” — is a crucial part of faith.
I suggested to you that Jesus has a mission statement, and that he sets it out in the 4th Chapter of Luke:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And, that it was this mission statement that actually gets him killed. From the very first time he appears, some folks are angry at his words.
And this week, we’ll end with the Parable of the Good Samaritan, where Jesus reminds us again of many of these same themes…compassion…love….serving the neighbor…seeing God in the other:
“Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?”
Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.””
So, here’s the secret.
I believe these are the major themes of our faith, and I will promise you we’ll come back to them again and again…
Loving God, Self, Neighbor…
Learning to Be Still…
Doing Justice and Kindness as we Love others…
Seeing God in “the other.”
These are the major themes of our faith, and almost every week, we’ll probably touch on one of them. I hope you’ve enjoyed our Desert Island Scripture Series. And I hope you’ll be with us Sunday for the final week.
Grace and Peace,