BY REV. BRIAN JACK - FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH OF WEST OKOBOJI
If your recent weeks have been anything like mine you've found yourself trying to juggle amid your regular duties all the public health ordinances as to what you should or shouldn't be doing.
Scribes of the Jewish tradition would have needed to be familiar with a wealth of laws too, many of them pertaining to cleanliness and disease prevention.
One day while in the temple one of these scribes asks Jesus, "Which commandment (which ordinance?) is the first of all?" Jesus' answer in short is, "Love God and love your neighbor as yourself." The scribe agrees with Jesus and says, "To love God and to love your neighbor as yourself, those really are the most important things."
Amidst all the ordinances coming our way and all the decisions that need to be made about how to live in this time (and always) your choices are to be filtered through these two most important commandments.
How are you actively seeking God's good news in a world where the bad news comes to you whether you asked for it or not? How can you consider all of your actions with the question of, "How will this affect my neighbor?"
When the scribe says to Jesus, "Love God and love your neighbor as yourself, these are the most important things," Jesus responds, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." I'm reminded of the old saying, "close, but no cigar."
While taking these actions are what you're called to do in this life, they're finally not the answer to our problems, even if they are good things we’ve been commanded to do by God.
While the scribe gets close with his answer, Jesus nails the answer to our problems. Nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ is all the sin, death, and evil in this life. The effects of this virus and anything else that would come between us and God and us and caring for our neighbors have been nailed to the cross of Christ. Sin, death, and evil and the fear that comes from them have died with Jesus. These things no longer define how we live and care for one another.
Knowing how deeply you are loved and cared for by God free you to be found doing the very things God created you to do. You are free to love God and love your neighbor as yourself, trusting that your today and your tomorrow are in God's hands.