Live your faith

4-10 November 2018

This week’s Bible readings

Mark 12.28-34 | Deuteronomy 6.1-9 | Hebrews 9.11-14

Listen!

Notes on the Bible readings

Jesus has now reached Jerusalem and has cleansed the Temple. The scribe is an interpreter and teacher of the Jewish Law; questioning and discussion were encouraged as an important part of the learning process. The scribe is seeking to engage with Jesus, not to trick him, which indicates that not all the religious authorities were against him. Jesus appears quite sympathetic towards this man and ultimately affirms his wisdom.

In Deuteronomy 6.5 Moses reminds the people of the great commandment they have been given before they enter the Promised Land. It is not just a rule for them, but one to be passed on to future generations. It is a law not merely to be obeyed but to be treasured as an important part of their daily lives.

Jesus invokes this passage from Deuteronomy and Leviticus 19.18 when answering the scribe. The first commandment is to love God with the entirety of your being: heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is to love your neighbour as yourself. These are not just spiritual requirements, but practical demands. Jesus sees them as the marks of true holiness: they will affect not only our attitude to God, but all our relationships and how we live in community. Today’s world can be very individualistic and the opportunities for sharing love are not always obvious. Wholehearted love for God translates into seeking opportunities to use our hearts, souls, minds and might to share that love with others.

Questions for reflection

  • What do you see in this painting called ‘agape’?
  • Who is your neighbour?
  • How did you last express love for a neighbour?

A gathering prayer

Blessed are those who set their hearts on God and hold fast to his word.
Blessed are those who are faithful in prayer, and whose songs are of praise.
Blessed are those who listen to the teachings of Scripture and live them out.
Blessed are we as we worship in Jesus’ name – for he is here, he is among us.

Amen.

A prayer for others

We pray for all who feel that no one listens to them:
those who live on the streets and are passed by, day after day;
those who try to speak out against injustice in places of corruption;
those who are starving in places that no longer make the news;
those who find it hard to express themselves;
those who are different, and feel that their lives don’t matter.
Open our ears to hear their cries of the heart,
and use us to meet their needs.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

A personal prayer

Loving God,
help me draw closer to your word,
that I may draw closer to others.
Help me listen to your promptings in my heart,
that I may serve others.
Help me build a rhythm of prayer,
that I may uphold others.
And help me to live out my days,
and set my words to the music of your love and grace, that I might inspire others – in Jesus’ name. Amen.