Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 July 2018 Mark 12:29.

Mark 12:29.   And Jesus answered him, The first (foremost) of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is One Lord:

                                  HAPPY  BIRTHDAY  CANADA !

Yeh friends, today is officially Canada’s 151st birthday, but we’ll talk about it tomorrow, when the Big Bang really happens. (smile) But just remember to follow Granny’s advice: Sonny boy, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business. Words of absolute wisdom my brethren! 

And my humblest apologies for the Bit being this late, but as the old people would say, what ent meet you, ent pass you. (smile) Now thank the Lord, I don’t usually have headaches, but I had a truly disgusting one this morning. I couldn’t even move my head without it feeling like it wanted to explode. I haven’t had anything like that in years. 

Steups! And I definitely didn’t want to venture writing the Bit under those less than positive circumstances. So I just took a couple of extra strength Tylenol and went to lie down. I didn’t even go to church. But I do have a new empathy for those who suffer with constant headaches, especially migraines. I guess the Lord felt I was having things a li’l too easy nuh. (smile) 

Anyway, enough pity party chatter, let’s get on with our Sunday morning, or rather afternoon proceedings. And as usual we’ll open with a song of praise to soften our stone hard hearts and make them more receptive to God’s word. And today’s ditty is taken from the old musical Godspell (1971), supposedly based on the Gospel of Matthew. 

It’s a song composed by Stephen Schwartz, one we’ve heard a thousand times down through the ages, but really haven’t paid much attention to – at least I haven’t, until I heard it this past week on commercial radio and had to check it out to see if the lyrics I heard were truly true. And by gosh, they were! 

That’s why we can now belt out the song ‘Day by Day’ with much gusto and heartfelt sincerity. As one earthly choir, sounding like a heavenly one though, (smile) let’s sing: ‘(Slow) Day by day, Day by day, oh, dear Lord, three things I pray: To see thee more clearly, LOVE thee more dearly, Follow thee more nearly, day by day 

(Chorus (fast) Day by day, day by day Oh, dear Lord, three things I pray: To see thee more clearly, LOVE thee more dearly, Follow thee more nearly, day by day Day by day, day by day, by day, by day. (Slow) Day by day, Day by day, oh, dear Lord, three things I pray: To see thee more clearly, LOVE thee more dearly, Follow thee more nearly, day by day (Chorus (fast)… Day by day, day by day, by day, by day…. Day by day, day by day, by day, by day…’ 

Yes friends, the words aren’t plentiful, and are somewhat repetitive, (smile) but you can’t find a better prayer than that anywhere! We’re only asking for three things: to see the Lord more clearly, LOVE Him more dearly, and follow Him more nearly… Wow! If we could only get those three things, we’d be in seventh heaven, doing exactly the things the Lord desires of us, the things He created us for! Would there ever be great joy and peace on earth! Hn! 

That brings us to our Bit: ‘And Jesus answered him, The first (foremost) of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is One Lord: And thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first (foremost) commandment.’ (Mark 12:29-30)  

Yes my brethren, that was Jesus’ answer to the question one of the scribes asked Him, one day when He was holding forth on the topic of resurrection, trying to trip Him up, and thus find reason to accuse Him of blasphemy or some other foolish crime. 

But Jesus, as usual was too much for those hypocritical fools. If they had believed Him, they would have realized that He wrote the Good Book and thus knew all the answers. But such is man’s foolish pride, that he figures he knows everything, when in actual fact he knows nothing whatsoever! 

And as the scholars explain: ‘12:29. See Deuteronomy 6:4. These are the opening words of the Shema, the Jewish call to worship. They establish the basis of LOVE for God in the fact of God’s being the Lord our God, the God who has covenanted to redeem us to Himself.’ 

Yes my brethren, those were the words Moses spoke unto Israel when he gave them the Great Commandment, warned them that they were to worship ONE absolute God!  Logically speaking, there couldn’t be more than one, Supreme Being, else there would be no absolute, and thus oodles of confusion. 

And please notice the meaning of the word ‘Shema’, the first word in Hebrew: ‘HEAR!’ That’s what Moses was trying to drive home to the people when he gave them that message. And it’s what I am trying to drive home to us today my faithful followers of Christ: ‘Hear! Listen!’ so that we too can obey it, as well as the continuation of Moses’ message. 

‘And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.’ (Deut.6:6-9) 

And NOTHING has changed since then friends and fellow believers: we are still supposed to do all those things…as well as the Second Great Commandment that Jesus added: ‘And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.’ (Mark 12:31) 

And to tell the truth, that wasn’t even Jesus invention at that time, because Moses had already told the Israelites in Leviticus: ‘Thou shalt not avenge (take vengeance), nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.’ (Lev.19:18) 

What more can I say eh friends…nothing really. It’s all spelt out there for us. We must now use wisdom and accept and action it. Much LOVE!

…only two things are really asked of us in this earthly life…LOVE the Lord our God…and our neighbours as ourselves…

 

 

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