TWENTY SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 29TH OCTOBER 2023

What is the greatest commandment? | GotQuestions.org

OPENING SENTENCE-

Satisfy us by your loving kindness

HYMN

GREETING

Grace and peace to you from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Almighty God

to whom all hearts be open

all desires known

and from whom no secrets are hidden;

Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you

and worthily magnify your holy name

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

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CONFESSION

God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION

May the God of love and power

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by his Spirit

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

GLORIA sung by Billy Dewar Riddick

COLLECT

O God our refuge and strength,

the very author of devotion:

hear the prayers of your church,

and grant that what we seek in faith,

we may in fact obtain;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit

one God, world without end.

Amen

FIRST READING Deuteronomy 34:1-12 read by David Kerr

Deuteronomy 34:1-12 | How to Finish Like Moses | Rich Jones - YouTube

Moses Dies and Is Buried in the Land of Moab

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired, and his vigour had not abated. The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.

Joshua, son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him, and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He was unequalled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

SECOND READING 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 read by Annabelle Guthrie

Faithful, Sacrificial Service (1 Thessalonians 2:1-8) — Karis Church

Paul’s Ministry in Thessalonica

You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals but to please God, who tests our hearts. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed, nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

HYMN

GOSPEL READING Matthew 22: 34-46 read by Rev Chris Wren

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Matthew chapter 22 beginning at verse 34

Glory to Christ our Saviour.

The Greatest Commandment

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, an expert in the law, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “ 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.”

persia37 | thoughts and reflections regarding my engaging the world from a  diaconal perspective | Page 2

The Question about David’s Son

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”?

“If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord

SERMON

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength and love your neighbour as yourself.’

z The Opening of the Shema Prayer Explained | May | 2022 | The Jewish  Experience | Brandeis University

This was Jesus’ response to a trick question. You know the kind of trick question I mean- where you are trying to catch people out. Here are some trick questions…..What can you catch, that is not thrown- cold. How many months have 28 days?-all What is always answered but never asks a question- Mobile phone. What word is spelt incorrectly in every dictionary-incorrectly. What kind of tree can you carry on your hand? Palm. These trick questions, although seeking to catch you out are quite harmless, but the trick questions the Pharisees posed to Jesus had a malicious intent- they were so designed that Jesus would offend one authority or another.

The trick question they tested Jesus with was this -Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? This question, however, is both loaded and fundamentally flawed. Why is it a loaded question? It is a loaded question because in those days the Pharisees had counted 613 separate commandments or laws. They had divided these laws into affirmative laws (248 of them) negative laws (365 of them) into heavy laws (like present day felonies) and light laws (misdemeanours). They spent a lot of time ranking the laws, yet considered all laws equally great because it was God who commanded them. If Jesus picked out one law as greater than the others, he would be saying that the other laws were not important. The question is also fundamentally flawed – it is legalistic and shows a lack of the true understanding of grace.

Jesus was asked to name one commandment but Jesus names two. He replies-Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbour as yourself. Jesus’ answer is so wise and astute, we see grace and freedom in his response. What does God want most from us? He wants you. All of you- your dreams, desires, fears, struggles and talents. Jesus is not looking for perfection, but he is looking for surrender; he is looking for us to know and love him with all that we are and have.

How to Love God with All Your Heart -

In his clever response Jesus is saying that there are five ways here to loving God-with all our heart/ with all our soul/ with all our mind/with all our strength/and love your neighbour as yourself

So, what does it mean to love God with all our heart? First of all, it is important to state that God loves us with all his heart. God loves each one of us completely and fully. There is no-one here who is not held in the palm of God’s loving hand and for whom God does not care deeply. God loves us freely and generously and there is nothing we can do to earn God’s love-his love is just there for us to receive.

I love you just the way you are

Maybe you wonder whether God really does love you with all your mess and inner ugliness? There is no doubt whatsoever- He does love you. Have you seen the film ‘Bridget Jones diary? In Bridget Jones diary her boyfriend loved her warts and all. He said. ‘I love you just the way you are.’ Bridget Jones had some disgusting habits and idiosyncrasies, and yet her boyfriend loved her for the person she was. God loves us with all our disgusting habits and idiosyncrasies-he loves us just the way we are. While he loves us the way we are – God’s desire is always to transform us into the person he has made us to be.

So, God’s heart is for us, what about our heart towards God? Heart here means the centre of a person’s inward life- the spiritual life. To love God with all our heart is about strengthening our intimacy with God. It is about our commitment to God. Some would say it is all about our surrender to God, where God has priority in our ambitions, priority in our family, priority in how we use our talents, priority in our money, priority in our energy and work. There is a hymn called ‘all to Jesus I surrender’- that sums up really what it is to love God with all your heart- it is to give God every part of you. To love God with all our heart does not come easily to anyone. Indeed, to love God with all our heart is something I suspect we desire and strive after it in this life, but it is something we can never fully attain, albeit it is something we earnestly seek to do. So loving God with all our heart is surrendering our life to God’s.

All to Jesus I Surrender - Hymn Piano Instrumental - song and lyrics by  Meteoric Stream | Spotify

Loving God with all our soul- is to love God with our emotions, our attitudes, and our will. C. S. Lewis believed that love is not primarily a matter of feeling but a matter of the will. We are obliged to love whether we like it or not! Thus, Christian love says C. S. Lewis towards God and our neighbour is matter of the will. Sometimes even when we do not particularly like someone, acting lovingly towards them can change our feelings toward them. Christian activist Dorothy Day wrote something that’s a difficult truth: “Your love for God is only as great as the love you have for the person you love the least.” Oh, that’s hard!

A newspaper columnist and minister, George Crane, told of a wife who came to his office full of hatred toward her husband. “I want not only to get rid of him, I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has hurt me.” Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan “Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him.” “After you’ve convinced him of your undying love, then drop the bomb. Tell him that you’re getting a divorce. That will really hurt.” With a glint in her eye, she smiled and exclaimed, “Beautiful, beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!” And she did it with enthusiasm: acting as if she loved him. For two months straight, she showed kindness by listening, giving, encouraging, and sharing. When Dr. Crane noticed that he hadn’t seen her in a long time, he called her. “Are you ready to go through with the divorce?” “Divorce?” she exclaimed. “No way! I really do love him, after all.” Her loving actions changed how she felt. So loving God and our neighbour with all our soul is to do with our will- it is to do about choosing to love God and neighbour in all situations whether we feel like it or not.

Loving God with all your mind- in other words with our intellect- is the place where we analyse, figure out and plan things. So, take care what we feed our minds on- too much junk TV viewing or computer gaming is not healthy and some things such as pornography are never healthy. So, everything we put in or allow in our minds is to be right, true, and noble- so that we align our decisions with God’s. So, as it says in Romans- do not be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Loving God with all our mind is subjecting our intellect to God’s ways and purposes.

Loving the Lord with Our Minds | St. Michael Catholic Church

Loving with all your strength is seeing our heart, soul and mind working together in loving physical actions. Loving with all our strength is the visible deeds we do for God with the right motivations, attitudes, and desires. I guess what we are being told here is that God does not want you to love him a little, or just with one part of you – God wants you to love him completely-God wants you to love him wholeheartedly. There is a character in the Bible who loved God wholeheartedly and he is commended by God for it- his name is Caleb. God says of Caleb-My servant Caleb has a different spirit because he follows me wholeheartedly. What a compliment to get from God! How is our loving and following God- could say that our desire is to love God wholeheartedly?

And the fifth and final part about loving is to love our neighbour as ourself. Did you notice that we are to love our neighbour as ourself? Only when we accept ourselves, will we be able to start loving other people as God commanded. It is important to remember that you are made in God’s image and as God is love so you too are love.

13,179 Love Yourself Stock Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from  Dreamstime

Unless we love ourselves, unless we accept who we are, we cannot love others properly. So, to begin with we must love ourselves. There is an idea that love of self is wrong, even sinful. There is of course a form of self- love that is wrong- we call it selfishness or egoism, but there is a form of self- love that is healthy and good and without which we cannot love others well.

People who do not love themselves, often have self- loathing and hate themselves. They struggle to love others for they do not love themselves. They will project their feelings onto others. They will pull others down, blame and castigate others for what they do not like in themselves. An old man was sitting on a bench at the edge of a town when the stranger asked: What are the people in this town like? The stranger asked. What were the people like in you last town- replied the old man? They were kind and generous and would do anything for you if you were in trouble. Well, I think you will find them much the same in this town. Sometime later a second stranger approached the old man asked the same question: What are the people in this town like? And the old man replied: and what were they like in the town you have come from? It was a terrible place, came the answer. To tell you the truth, I was glad to get out of it. The people there were mean, unkind and nobody lifted a finger to help you if you were in trouble. I’m afraid said the old man, you’ll find much the same in this town. The main point of this story is: we see other people not as they are but as we are. If we see people in a bad light most of the time, it can be a sign that we are ill at ease with ourselves. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we do love others precisely as we love ourselves.

Loving ourselves healthily frees us to love others. There is recently a lady who is 94 and she had one item on her bucket list- it was not a fancy holiday, or a daring adventure it was to appear on television for three minutes and say three words. Her wish was granted and she appeared on television and she said her three words. What were her three words? Her three words were- love one another. She had practised that in her life and it had faired her well.

Love One Another (Guest Post) | Janet Sketchley

So, in concluding we are deeply loved and matter greatly to God and others. We are called to love our neighbour as ourselves and this love for others flows from our love of God whom we are invited to love with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. As the hymn says God’s love is so amazing so divine, it demands my soul my life my all! Amen

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

NICENE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism

for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Praying Moms – LRPC HOME

God our Provider and Carer,

thank you for your goodness

and faithfulness towards us.

Thank you that in you we shall not want.

We marvel at the depth of our love for us

and how you delight in us

and seek what is best for us.

Teach us to listen to your whisper

and to respond with obedient and eager hearts

to all that you would have us do

to bring glory to your name.

I will trust in you alone.

God, our Provider and Carer

thank you for your unconditional love towards us,

which touches and blesses our lives.

We lift to you this day those who feel undervalued,

unloved and even insignificant,

remind them of your incredible love for them.

Help us to let no debt be outstanding except the debt of love.

May your spirit pour your love into our hearts

that we might share that love with others.

I will trust in you alone.

Loving God, thank you

that you hear and answer our prayers.

We praise you for those times

when you have answered us

and granted our requests.

We lift to you those who

are struggling with difficult decisions

and are not sure how to progress,

give them wisdom, understanding

and provide an answer for them.

I will trust in you alone.

God, our provider and Carer

we are conscious of our pluralistic culture,

with its diversity of people, races and cultures.

Help us to ensure that all are treated

with equity, dignity and respect,

Where there is prejudice,

broaden people’s understanding and perspective.

Where there is inequality and discrimination,

help us to fight for fairness and justice.

Give perseverance to all who strive to remove bias and intolerance

and encourage us to work in harmony with one another.

I will trust in you alone.

God, our Provider and Carer

we are aware of oppression and persecution

in different parts of the world.

We think of people

who live in constant fear and insecurity,

and we pray for diplomacy and negotiations,

to bring about a better quality of life.

We lift to you all

who have fled their home country,

and are seeking asylum in a strange land.

We pray that they would feel welcomed,

helped, supported and resourced.

We pray for those stuck in war torn countries,

lifting especially to you,

the people of Israel and Palestine,

and the people of Ukraine and Russia

Bring about peace, reconciliation, and healing.

I will trust in you alone.

God, our Provider and Carer

we marvel at your creativity

evident in the world around us.

Teach us to cherish

and respect the environment.

Be present in our net zero deliberations

and guide us on the right path to take.

I will trust in you alone.

God our Provider and Carer

we thank you for the patient endurance

of many who suffer so much,

through illness, or hardship, or injury.

We pray for their strength and courage

and ask for your upholding and healing.

I will trust in you alone.

God our Provider and Carer

we pray for those who have died in faith

that they may rise to eternal life.

Draw near to all who grieve

bring your comfort and peace,

your light and your hope,

now and in the days ahead.

I will trust in you alone.

God our provider and Carer

increase our faith in you.

In times of difficulty and challenge

fill us with strength and perseverance,

that we might wait on you

and see your provision unfold.

I will trust in you alone

God our Provider and Carer,

thank you for your unfailing love for us,

and your desire for the best for us.

Help us to receive your love, and in receiving your love,

show us how to love ourselves healthily,

and to love our neighbours as yourselves.

Merciful Father accept these prayers

for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,

who taught us to pray together..

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Do not bring us to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

HYMN

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BLESSING

The peace of God, which passes all understanding,

keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,

and of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord:

and the blessing of God the Father,

the Son and Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen

DISMISSAL

Go or stay in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Amen

Welcome

St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.

Donations

You can donate to St John’s by credit or debit card by following these links.

St John’s Bellringers on Border Life video

Notices

Contemporary Service

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall.

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