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  • Henry Prater

The Lens of Loving God and Neighbor

Hello Edgemont friends, Like many of you, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the events of last Wednesday in our country. It was a shocking sight to see what happened in Washington D.C., our nation’s capitol. We are all processing this awful event in ways that help us to make sense of it as well as the things that led to it. The fallout will continue to reverberate for a long time to come. We as the church have to wrestle with how our Christian faith can become so entangled with ideals that are the exact opposite. What does this mean for us as the church? Specifically, what does this mean for us at Edgemont UMC? How are we to navigate this time of so many voices telling us what is right, telling us how to process events, and how to move forward from them? Thankfully, Jesus has given us a lens, one that should be familiar to us. That lens is found in Matthew 22:34-40,

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Church, everything we read and listen to needs to be processed through the lens of this question: is this pointing me towards loving God and loving neighbor more? Whether it is a political belief or a new church program, this needs to be our guiding principle as a church and as Christians. Winning does not need to be our main thing, defeating our rival does not need to be our main thing, justifying ourselves does not need to be our main thing. Our main thing needs to be loving God and loving neighbor. What does love look like? Well, I know of one great place to look. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” God’s love, not political power, is what is going to change our world. We have to do better, church. I have to do better. I pray that in this new year, we will all strive to love like God loves more and more each day. Pastor Henry

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