Sunday, November 4, 2018
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (24th Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 26)
The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:
First Reading: Ruth 1:1-18; Psalm 146:1-10
Second Reading: Hebrews 9:11-14
Gospel Reading: Mark 12:28-34
The liturgical color for the day is: Green
Many will use this Lord’s Day as a celebration of All Saints’ Day. Such a festival is also a good occasion to observe the Reaffirmation of Baptism.
In Mark 12 exchange between Jesus and the Scribe is notable. They do not say the greatest commandment is, “Love God,” and stop there. That commandment is coupled with, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In a very real way we cannot love God without loving our neighbor.
We do not exist in isolation. Love for God is a communal reality.
Indeed, it is deeper than that. We do not live in isolation. We are connected. We are vitally connected. Ruth, we are told, clung to Naomi. Ruth was vitally connected to Naomi, and it shaped her life and she intentionally allowed it to shape her future.
We are vitally connected. We are vitally connected with each other. We learn that again in weeks like the one we have just had. Not only are we connected with each other, we are connected with those who have died in the faith. We are vitally connected to those who have gone before us. I cannot help but think about all those “Saints in Light” who have shaped our existence and made us the people we are.
Where did we learn how to be people who share what we have? Where did we learn to give generously of ourselves? How did we come to know that our spiritual life is connected to what we do for our neighbors?
We learned it from sacred scripture. We learned it from watching those who have gone before us. We learn it from each other.
The waters rage, the winds blow, the earth is utterly changed. These are our realities, and yet in all that we still have this love of God that reaches all the way down and all the way out to us connecting us with those here and those gone. That love of God shapes our new reality and our new day and gives us all we need to commit ourselves to this great mission of loving God and loving each other.
To be faithful is always to renew our commitments. Renew your clinging like Ruth did to Naomi. Renew your clinging to this commitment of those who have gone before us. Renew your life as a life that is shaped by loving God and loving your neighbor. As we make that renewal we are “not far from the Kingdom of God.”
PTF General Presbytery