Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the message preached the previous Sunday. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.
Read Matthew 22:31-40
Two commandments. That’s what Jesus takes all of the law, all of the teachings of Moses, all of the things that have marked the Jewish people as separate and different, Jesus boils it down into two commandments. I sometimes try to make the Christian life, theology, church, into a complex system. And in some respects, it is, people are complex, community is complex, but Jesus strips away the complexity and replaces it with just a few words. “Love God with everything you have, and love your neighbor as yourself.” While it might only be two commandments, they are not simple. How do we love our neighbor as ourselves? Who is our neighbor? What does it mean to love them? I had a friend who served with a ministry organization that took those two commandments and said it simply as: Love God, Love People. If we can do those things, in that order, how much different would our lives look? How different would our jobs and schools look? Maybe sometimes we make things more complex than they need to be to avoid the simple and sometimes scary command of love people.
Questions for Reflection: What does it practically look like to love God with your mind? What people (neighbors) in your life can you do a better job of loving? Think about them right now. Now write down ways to better love them. Now put it into practice.
Read Philippians 2:3-16
How does a large group of people from all different backgrounds, cultures, and families find a way to interact with each other and have relationships? Much of the New Testament writings have to do with this very question. Paul’s encouragement to the church in Philippians focuses on how to treat other people. “Do nothing from selfish ambition” “Look to the interests of others” “Do all things without grumbling” —over and over Paul is teaching the people, here is how you should treat each other. These seem like hard things when people invade our personal space, ask intimate questions, or steal your favorite coffee cup on a Sunday morning. To help us remember how to encourage each other and put others first Paul reminds us of the greatest example in verses 6-8, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sins and experience the wrath of God in our place. So as we as a community try to model this sacrificial selfless system to each other, we look to the perfect example and what he experienced, and maybe that can help us show some grace to the person who sits in your seat on a Sunday.
Questions for Reflection: What does humility practically look in the way you are part of this community? What can you do to help model this style to others? Who’s interests this week can you try to put ahead of your own?
Reflections written by Pastor Tim Gioia