Sermons 2006
"The Commandments to love God, Neighbor, One Another" Proper 26B, 5 November 2006, Mark 12:28-34

Home | "Light and Darkness", Christmas 2C, 31 December 2006, John 1:1-18 | Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2006 | "What then shall we do?", Advent 3C , 17 December 2006, Luke 3:7-18 | "Luke's Gospel", Advent 1C, 3 Dec 2006, Luke 21:25-31 | Which Jesus? Proper 29B 2006, 26 November 2006, John 18:33-37 | Apocalypticism and Fundamentalism, Proper 28B, 19 Nov 2006, Daniel12; Mark 13:14-23 | "The Widow's Mite: All and Everything", Proper 27B, 12 November 2006, Mark 12:38-44 | "The Commandments to love God, Neighbor, One Another" Proper 26B, 5 November 2006, Mark 12:28-34 | "Sight -- and Seeing" Proper 25B, 29 October 2006, Mark 10:46-52 | "Baptism: Overwhelming Washing", Proper 24B, 22 October 2006 Mark 10:35-45 | "God's Transforming Love", Proper 23B, 15 October 2006, Mark 10:17-31 | "Divorce", Proper 22B, 8 February 2006, Mark 10: 2-9 | "Hard Sayings and Sharp Words", Proper 21B, 1 October 2006, Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 | "First or Last?" Proper 20B, 24 September 2006, Mark 9:30-37 | "Unintended Consequences", Proper 19B, 17 September 2006, Mark 8:27-38 | "Ephphatha! Open up!" Proper 18B, 10 September 2006, Mark 7:31-37 | "Rituals", Proper 17B, 3 September 2006, Deuteronomy 4:1-9; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | "Choices." Proper 16B, 30 August 2006, Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-25; John 6:60-69 | "Come to the Table." Proper 15B, 20 August 2006, John 6:53-59 | "Do not be afraid." Proper 12B, 30 July 2006, Mark6:45-52 | "General Convention and Jesus' Compassion", Proper 11B, 23 July 2006, Mark 6: 30-44 | "Basics for the Journey", Proper 10B, 16 July 2006, Mark 6:7-13 | "Jesus and Rejection", Proper 9B, 9 July 2006, Mark 6:1-6 | "Trust, Faith, and Belief" Proper 8B, 2 July 2006, Mark 5:22-43 | "Storms, Fear, and Faith" Proper 7B, 25 June 2006, Mark 4:35-41 | Mighty things from Small, Proper 6B, 18 June 2006, Mark 4:26-34 | Trinity, Pentecost 1, 11 June 2006, Exodus 3:1-6; John 3:1-16 | The King Jesus Fire-Baptized Holy Spirit Church, Pentecost , 4 June, Acts 2:1-11; Jn 20:19-23 | "That they may be one" General Convention 2006, Easter 7B 28 May 2006, John 5:9-15 | "Friends, friendship, and love" Easter 6B, 21 May 2006, John 15:9-17 | Mother's Day, two mothers' love!" Easter 5B, 14 April 2006, John 14:15-21 | "Interesting, this Good Shepherd!" Easter 4B, 7 May 2006, John 10:11-16 | "How do you prove you are alive?", Easter 3B, 30 April 2006, Luke 24:36b-48 | "Do you believe because...." Easter 2B, 23 April 2006, John 20:19-31 | "He goes before you to Galilee...." Easter B 2006, 16 April, Mark 16:1-8 | "Journey into darkness", Palm Sunday B, 9 April 2006. Mark 11:1-11, 14:32-15:47 | "Sir, we would see Jesus!" Lent 5B, 2 April 2006, John 12:20-33 | "Miracles and Faith, Ordinary and Not", Lent 4B 2006, 26 March 2006, John 6:4-15 | "Rage, Rampage, and Outrage", Lent 3B, 19 March 2006, John 2: 13-22 | "Images of the Cross", Lent 2B, 12 March 2006, Mark 8:31-38 | "Baptism, Temptation, Redemption," Lent 1B, 5 March 2005, Mark 1:9-13 | Ash Wednesday , 1 March 2006, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | ""Nanny McPhee' and transfiguration", Epiphany Last B, Mark 9:2-9 | "Jesus, leprosy, and the law of Moses", Epiphany 6B, 12 February 2006, Mark 1:40-45 | "Healing, wholeness, forgiveness, and love", Epiphany 5B, 5 February 2006, Mark 1:29-39 | "Haints, Unclean spirits, and demons" Epiphany 4B, 22 January 2006, Mark 1:21-28 | Epiphany 3B, 22 January 2006, "God's Call -- and Our Response", Mark 1:14-20 | Epiphany 2B, 15 January 2006, "Call and Response", John 1:43-51 | Epiphany 1B, 8 January 2006, "The Baptism of our Lord -- and Ours", Mark 1:7-11 | The Holy Name, 1 January 2006, Luke 2: 15-21

Proper 26B 2006 Mark 12:38-44

Long ago in a faraway place there were two neighbors who farmed together. Each had his own granary. One of the neighbors was married and had a large family; the other neighbor was single. They shared equally in all of the work and split the profits equally.

One day the single neighbor thought to himself, "It is not fair that we divide the grain evenly. My neighbor has many mouths to feed, while I have but one. I will take a sack of grain from my granary each evening and put in my neighbor's granary." So, each night when it was dark, he carried a sack of grain, placing it in his neighbor's barn. And the married neighbor thought to himself, "It is not fair that we divide the grain evenly. I have many children to care for me in my old age, and my neighbor has none. I will take a sack of grain from my granary each evening and put it in my neighbor's granary." And he did.

Each morning the two neighbors were amazed to discover that though they had removed a sack of grain the night before, they had just as many. One night they met each other halfway between their barns, each carrying a sack of grain. Then they understood the mystery, and embraced with joy. And as God looked down from heaven, he saw them and said, "I declare this to be a holy place, for I have witnessed extraordinary love here." It is said that God chose that spot for Solomon's Temple. (1)

Jesus in the Summary of the Law outlines several ways to God. The first is through the heart and is for the person who feels his or her religion in a strong emotionally powerful way. This is more characteristic of classical evangelical Anglicanism. Interestingly, akin to it is classical Anglo-Catholicism with its emphasis on the emotional response to physical symbols and its liturgical emphasis.

The second is the way used by the person who responds to God chiefly by thinking. This is the cool rationality and logical thinking more characteristic of classical broad Church Anglicanism.

The third is through our soul and strength. It is equally common to all three mainstreams of classical Anglicanism. To love God with soul and strength is to put emphasis on the doing of the will of God."

This path is for the practical. It's difficult to think or feel ourselves into being Christians, but we can live our way into that life. Because in its essence, the Summary of the Law, the command to love God with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves is a command to act beyond feeling and logic and symbol. (2)

Too often the claim has been made that we have to love ourselves before we can ever love others. Neither Moses nor Jesus intends to afford any priority to self-love. For we are all overly obsessed with ourselves, and God would never think of blowing on the flames of our self-consideration, which are "bright enough already." Interpreting "love...yourself" as if it were a commandment too easily degenerates into a license for self-indulgence. Charles Krauthammer has observed that the effort to love yourself is "endless. By the time you have finally learned to love yourself, you'll find yourself playing golf at Leisure World." (3)

David Wilkerson had a street ministry to gang members in the ghettos of New York City. While standing on a wooden soapbox with hands waving and voice shouting, he preached on the love of Jesus and the need to repent. After one such sermon a gang member angrily told Wilkerson that his lofty words meant little. With few clothes, no shoes and little to eat, the gang member was not concerned with heaven. Immediately Wilkerson sat down on the soapbox, took off his socks and shoes, and gave them to the gang member. He spent the rest of that day preaching barefooted. That day David Wilkerson evolved from preaching about love to doing it, loving a neighbor.

Even more terrifying is the death of a loved one. Then we are confronted not only with who we are, but also with the reality that we will one day cease to be. At age 23, a young woman was brutally murdered one Christmas Eve. Her body was left in a field where police found her Christmas morning. Many relatives, friends and others from the community offered her mother their love and support. While this helped immensely, it was not until she became a victims' advocate, helping others who had lost loved ones to violent crime, that she began to get her life back. (4)

The modern sage Frederick Buechner observed that " . . .If you want to know what loving your neighbors is all about, look at them with more than just your eyes. The bag lady settling down for the night on the hot-air grating. The two children chirping like birds in the sandbox. The bride as she walks down the aisle on her father's arm. The old man staring into space in the nursing home TV room. Try to know them for who they are inside their skins. Hear not just the words they speak but the words they do not speak. . .When Jesus said '[Come] all ye that labor and are heavy laden,' he was seeing the rich as well as the poor, the lucky as well as the unlucky, the idle as well as the industrious. He was seeing the bride on her wedding day. He was seeing the old man in front of the TV. He was seeing all of us. The highest work of the imagination is to have eyes like that." (5)

One of the greatest of the Greek Philosophers, Plato, considered the problem of setting priorities in life. He used the image of a triangle. Along the base of the triangle people were to list those things considered important in their individual lives.

Each person was to start moving those things upward from the base toward the top or apex of the triangle on a series of increasingly shorter lines parallel to the original base. As each line got shorter, each person had to choose which things to discard as not as important as some other things. The process was completed when the apex was reached where there was only enough room for one thing, the most important thing.

Plato sought to help each person of his time answer the questions, “What is the most important thing in our life? What is the most important thing above all else?” (6)
Surely these are still the questions of and for our time as well.


1. As told by the Revd Bunker Hill in Selected Sermon for Proper 26B 1997

2. Adapted from John A. Redhead in Pathways to God as summarized in SermonMall Commentaries 5 Nov 2006

3. Ibid.

4. Adapted from Joe Baroody, Community Care and Counseling, Florence, SC, SermonMall Commentaries 5 Nov 2006

5. Frederick Buechner as quoted in Day 1 Sermon for 5 Nov 2006

6. Sunday Sermons 5 Nov 2006

Wicomico Parish Church
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Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579