February 22, 2019
What choices will you make today? What to eat for breakfast and what to wear? How to get some exercise on a rainy day? Some choices we make often and easily.
How about how to spend your time? This seems to be a big one for me these days—how to choose what needs to be done, what I’d like to do, and still find time to relax, read and renew.
There’s other choices, too. Unless you’re a hermit and never see anyone, every day we choose how to treat others. When faced with a challenging situation with someone I try (and sometimes fail) to ask “What does Jesus ask of me here? With Jesus by my side, what is the most loving thing to say or do right now?”
Jesus gives us his words and wisdom, even a command. When asked by a Pharisee who was a lawyer “what is the greatest commandment?” Jesus replies, “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 commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:35-39)
I’ve been thinking about the choice Art and I made years ago to become United Methodist. We grew up in similar Lutheran traditions and learned about loving God. I’m grateful for that. I didn’t learn much, though, about choosing to love neighbors, about loving God in the world through the choices I made. We became United Methodist for many reasons, including the open Holy Communion table and because we saw that we could learn more about loving God and living out our faith in the world, loving neighbor. This has been vitally important to me over the years. In the UMC I get to grow in my faith and love of God AND get to join God in helping to make the world more whole and healed by seeking to love neighbors, whoever and wherever they are. Seeking to love God and neighbor affects my choices, day by day, week by week, and year by year.
Only by the grace of God can I even try to make choices that reflect loving God and neighbor. That’s why, as United Methodists delegates gather this week in St. Louis for a Special General Conference my prayer is that choices will be made that live out the greatest commandments, given to us by Jesus, the one we follow.
Prayer: O God, pour out your loving Spirit upon us this day. Keep us warm, safe and well. More than that, keep all your people safe and well. Help us to make choices that reflect you and your love for all your created ones. Give us your strength, your courage, and your abundant love. Thank you for covering us over with your grace. Amen.
To join St. Mark’s Special General Conference Prayer Vigil, go to https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a094dadaa2faaf85-prayer1