Sunday, September 23, 2018

love God with all our soul

SUNDAY we move forward in our series “Loving God, Loving Others” as we explore what it means to love God with “all our soul.”

╬  “My soul proclaims your greatness, O God!”  An exclamation from Mary, the mother of Jesus, in response to an astounding revelation from God.  She will bear God’s Christ into the world!  She cannot contain her joy and wonder, and begins to praise God form the depths of her being … from her very soul!  In simplest terms, we humans understand our selves as “body and soul.”  We experience life embodied, but we know ourselves to be far more.  God has breathed spirit within us and created us as unique souls, in ways that even transcend bodiliness.  And God invites us to love – to love God, to love others, to love the world God has made – with the whole of ourselves, from our very souls.

 Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.  

 Let us love God and God’s creation with our true selves, as uniquely crafted and blessed souls!

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY ------------------------
God of creation, you breathe the spirit of life into us and kindle our very souls into being.  Help us to find you at the deepest level of ourselves and to live from there:  in you, with you, for you.  Amen.

READINGS ------------------------------------

 First Reading:  Deuteronomy 4:25-31
25 When you have had children and children's children, and become complacent in the land, if you act corruptly by making an idol in the form of anything, thus doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, and provoking him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to occupy; you will not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples; only a few of you will be left among the nations where the Lord will lead you. 28 There you will serve other gods made by human hands, objects of wood and stone that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29 From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul. 30 In your distress, when all these things have happened to you in time to come, you will return to the Lord your God and heed him. 31 Because the Lord your God is a merciful God, he will neither abandon you nor destroy you; he will not forget the covenant with your ancestors that he swore to them.

Psalm 63:1-8
1 O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
5 My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
6 when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Second Reading:  Acts 2:22-28
22 "You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know — 23 this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24 But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. 25 For David says concerning him, 'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope.  27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption.  28 You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.'

Gospel:  Matthew 16:21-28
21 From that time Jesus began to show to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.  22 Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord; this shall not happen to you!" 23 But Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an offense to me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with His angels, and then he will reward each according to his works.  28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."