The Acoustic Word
A Weekly Devotion based on the Common Lectionary
Pentecost A Lectionary 30
Matthew 22:34-40
 
“The Great Commandment” / “To Do What’s Right”

In this week’s appointed Gospel Jesus is asked which commandment is the greatest?   He  replies, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” 38This is the greatest and first commandment.”  And then he adds, 39 “A second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 40

 

I love the phrase, “a second is like it.”  I believe it’s Jesus’ way of fleshing out and making the first commandment real, concrete, and grounded in this world.  It’s like Jesus is telling us, “If you really want to love God, do so by loving the people around you.”  It’s really quite simple and straight forward.

 

And I think we need that straight forward message because sometimes our love for God only exists in a very private “spiritual” sphere as something that happens in our worship life.  The prophet Amos reminds us in no uncertain terms how God feels about worship that exists apart from deeds of righteousness and justice, apart from  loving your neighbor.  “I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. … Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” ( Amos  5:21, 23-24)

 

This week’s Gospel reminds us that true spirituality, our love of God and our connection with God, is incomplete without love for the neighbor, without the actions that help create peace and justice in our world.  True spirituality is not “out of this world,” but rather grounded deeply in this world.

 

“To Do What’s Right”

 

I’m speaking in tongues, I’m dancing with angels
I’m shaking on fire, I’m willing and able
To do what’s right, to do what’s right
 
The Spirit of the Lord has landed on me
Now I’m a gonna proclaim a jubilee
Good news to the poor, sight to the blind
Freedom to the captives, gonna blow your mind 
 
I’m speaking in tongues, I’m dancing with angels
I’m shaking on fire, I’m willing and able
To do what’s right, to do what’s right
 
I was standing on the corner of first and main
Reading about the judgment day
So many strangers naked and cold
The least of these God all alone
 
I’m speaking in tongues, I’m dancing with angels
I’m shaking on fire, I’m willing and able
To do what’s right, to do what’s right
 
So what does the Lord your God require?
A humble walk, a passionate desire
With all of your heart and all of your soul
With as much love as possible 
 
I’m speaking in tongues, I’m dancing with angels
I’m shaking on fire, I’m willing and able
To do what’s right, to do what’s right

 

 

St. Paul echoes these thoughts in his first letter to the Corinthians, “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”  (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)

 

I often lament that issues of faith are rather complicated, but this week it’s actually quite simple, “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 neighbor as yourself.”   On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’

 

Go in peace to love and to serve the Lord, Amen.

 

 

Get this music free!  If you would like a free MP3 of the songs featured in “The Acoustic Word” just sign up for the weekly email announcing new postings.  Simply email us at AcousticWord@gmail.com and we will put you on our mailing list.  Each week you will receive a link to the new post and the featured song attached.  You can also follow Greg Ronning on twitter, screen name “revpgr”  or on our Facebook page for updates on new posts,

Matthew 22:34-40

34 

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ 37He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’

 

 

Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.