Pastor’s Pen 14th June 2020

Shalom. Remember to obey all that He has commanded you to do.

This can seem like a big burden when we consider the list of decrees and regulations and commandments outlines through Scripture.

It was the basis for questions Jesus was asked a number of times and the answer given has shaped and formed much of our society over the ensuing 2000 odd years, but resonated with every culture and peoples around the world. Prior to the embracing of Christianity, much of ancient culture was underlined with an understanding of capricious gods and fickle deities who demanded worship and would retaliate at the merest slight they felt was directed at them. Israel was quite unique, though not exclusive, in the worship of a largely caring and loving God who would look after and defend his people. Jesus took this further and John summed it up in John 3: 16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[g] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

This is still a radical concept! Our challenge is that having lived with a foundation of our society being based on these Christian values and morals we have taken for granted the radical nature and extreme departure from much of the self centredness that drove humanity for millenia. We have at times failed to recognise that if we stray too far from the basis and calling of this we could see our society return to more self-centred and polarising behaviours as we swing between extremes. Our national approach during Covid and beyond of being kind to each other is a great example of a Christ centred value and I’m encouraged how widely we have and still embraced this.

At it’s centre the gospel commandment is summed up in the greatest commandment, which is actually two conjoined, inseperable dynamics that when fused together create a kind, generous, safe and creative society.

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, the second is like it, love your neighbour as yourself…’

If we can remember to obey this before we obey other things we will grasp the essence of Christ like behaviour.

I hope you enjoy the outworking of this over the coming days, weeks and months.

Bless ya
Pastor Mike