Many of us have heard the phrase “he cannot see the forest for the trees…”
Well this saying can sometimes apply
Reading the Holy Scripture,
as we get bogged down on this verse or that verse,
this definition or that definition,
or this commentary or that commentary
or even the New Testament vs. the Old Testament itself.
It is almost as if we seek diversions
instead of faith
Thus avoiding our obligation
and making difficult what is really simple
as this type of diversion can be like the dew covering the mountain.
We know from the Collect this morning
that faithful people
are to do “true and laudable service.”
And in the Epistle, to the Galatians, we read that it is of the seed of Abraham
to which a promise was made,
a promise of the world coming together under “one God”
to be blessed,
which will come through the seed of the woman
and Paul reveals and confirms to us in the Epistle
that the seed,
is “In Christ,”
who has come to save the world from itself.
So it is in Jesus Christ only – the one seed
that we must have faith,
A faith which is given to them that believe in Him.
And we all know – what is required of Christians:
for Jesus tells us in the Gospel of St. Luke
of our obligation to:
“… love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind;
and thy neighbour as thyself”
But often it seems as if this obligation frightens some,
So often they argue and struggle over things that can distort the message
(which I call the trees that make up to forest)
thus pitting one denomination against the other
as we all proclaim
The message at the heart of so many of our Lords sayings is simply
that we Love God, and Neighbor.
But we often like to we devise questions
which can cloud the acts of a Christian.
A great example of one seeking avoidance of his obligation is given by our Lord as He is asked…
“well who is my neighbor?”
A recent theme lately from this pulpit has been how much God loves you –
Each one of you
for you are His Creation
which He proudly proclaims as being “very good!
After God after making the Garden,
from nothing, from darkness and chaos,
He declared His Creation
6 TIMES He does this.
God even communed, visited,
and communicated with us in the Garden,
until the Fall of Man as Man decided to become our own Gods
as we began to decide for ourselves,
not listening to God,
what was good and what is evil.
We all have heard the line
“AIN’T NOBODY GOING TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!!!”
Thus we fall from our original goodness
(made in the image of God)
into to a life of chaos and sinfulness,
And from our own “fall-eness” / we spread the darkness
as we put our “self-will” above “God’s Will.”
God has come amongst us in – Christ Jesus
and He walks with us, as He did in the Garden,
and He feeds us all
pulling us out from darkness
in which we OFTEN waddle.
He has done,
and does these things
to guide us from darkness /
back to the Garden
(sounds sort of like that good shepherd gathering His sheep)
HE SIMPLY WANTS YOU
TO COME HOME!!!
And he tells us the two most important things
That we can do
Love God, and Love neighbor.
However, our pride and arrogance motivates us to question everything in order to give us a way out –
“well… who exactly is my neighbor?”
You see, when reading this story in the Gospel
We can become focused ON THE TREES
What was the severity of the wound – was it a head wound?
why was he traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho
just how long – was that trip?
what kind and how much oil and wine was poured on the wound by the Samaritan?
Was it all he had?
Was the two pence sufficient to pay for the care?
—the list can go on.
We can cloud our minds and focus on the trees
and not see that Jesus was simply telling this story
to explain that yes – indeed,
even this man with no name
is to be loved even by a stranger passing by
even though the “religious people” did not.
This story tells us:
That it is God that loved us first as he comes to us
as He still offers us eternal life,
and HE loves us most
even though we have fallen into the ditch, wounded and left to die.
And that we (just as the Samaritan) can be rescued,
to health and THE Goodness for which we were made.
It is God, through our faith in His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ,
that is pulling us away from the fire,
the evil and darkness which surrounds us;
and it is HE
who is restoring us and bringing us to that state of goodness
which was obtained and then loss in the Garden.
It is through our faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ,
just like the Jewish people
who place the blood
of a lamb on the side post and upper door of their houses in order to be safe from the destruction passing by them,
just as they were being gathered for God,
we can begin our restoration.
Instead of allowing us to fall deeper and deeper into the abyss of sin and chaos,
God has sent a Saviour (a safetyline)
one who can even walk on water, and over the abyss of this life,
and who will reach His hand in order to pull us up –
up to Heaven,
and save us.
Let our hearts be healed and put away all pride and arrogancy,
and let us stop looking for excuses,
let us grow up and acknowledge our own unworthiness,
and give thanks to our Loving God.
Let us focus and do the simple words of Jesus,
Love God and neighbor
and I would add
Love the One God
and Love all neighbors.
Get rid of those little gods which cast a cloud over your life
Pull – take away the time
and the resources from all the little false God’s
and give yourself totally to the Living God.
And if you do so,
the path home will bring you Joy and Happiness.
LOVE GOD AND NEIGHBOUR
Now hear the Words of Jesus:
NOW GO AND DO…
The hour cometh……