Bible Readings and Devotion for March 26, 2020
You are encouraged to read these passages from this page or from your personal Bible. After the readings is a devotion based on one or more of the readings.
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or an online Bible – click passage listing for link to online:
Devotion for March 26, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
In our reading from Matthew we are invited to do something different. At first it seems a bit hard. We are called to do the splits. That is a gymnastic or dance move in which one’s legs are separated from each other and are at right angles to one’s body. See the photo.
Photo by Yelpseggs – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49412566
Now I don’t really mean we are called upon to do a certain dance or gymnastic move. If I tried this I would be in a bit of pain. What I mean is that we are to have our core actions of self-giving love to be in two directions.
Our most important self-giving love is for our amazing God and Savior. Our worship, our respect, our actions of service, our tithes and offerings, etc. always have God as first priority. We are called upon to love the Lord with our whole selves, heart, soul, mind. In another telling of this Jesus points to heart, soul, mind, and strength. Either way, the meaning is the same. We are to give our whole selves over to love for God.
The second side of the splits is the similarly important commandment. It is ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ In response to God’s goodness for us we also get to express self-giving care and action for others. Our decisions of how to show this love in action is to be based on what we would want done toward our own selves. We would not want to be harmed, rejected, or disrespected, etc., so we do the same for others. When we show kindness, mercy, and charity, we get to show others what we ourselves would appreciate.
One of the ways this has been shown is with the Seafarers Christmas Box Ministry at MLLC. In the fall each year we gather items to place in in shoe boxes which are given to the men on the ships at the Port of Houston. Typically, 10,000+ boxes are handed out to show mercy and kindness to these people from around the world, and they are always glad to receive these. When we gather the items, we encourage folks to choose items of the type and quality which they would use and enjoy. This way we can live out this side of the splits by loving these seafarers as we would wish to be loved. In this way, we also show our love for God by serving our neighbors in need.
While we don’t actually perform the splits dance move, we do have an opportunity to have two related points of focus for our self-giving care for someone outside of ourselves.
Pour your grace into our hearts, O God, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son, Jesus Christ, announced by an angel, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; for he lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.