Daily Devotional August 21, 2020

Rerun of Daily Devotional August 28, 2017

Saturday night I performed a wedding for a family that I dearly love at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dallas.  What made this especially interesting was that it was the first multi-faith wedding I have ever participated in.

While I can recite the United Methodist liturgy with my eyes closed, I had to be very careful in keeping track of exactly where we were in the service because of the Jewish liturgy.  And outside of Rabbi Gruber reminding me that it was time for to Chris kiss Danielle, I did okay.  Having said that, it was a fascinating experience to see two distinctly different faith traditions come together.

In planning the wedding, Rabbi Gruber and I talked about the different elements that needed to be included to reflect both the bride and groom’s religions.  To my surprise, he suggested that as part of the Christian liturgy, we included the Lord’s Prayer.  Then he said, “You have to remember, a rabbi taught you this prayer.”  He was right.

One of the titles for Jesus was Rabbi which meant teacher.  The most important lesson our rabbi ever taught can be found in the 22nd chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.

We are told a lawyer came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  Jesus responded by giving him not one commandment but two:  “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the greatest and first commandment.   And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:36-39)

In these few verses, Jesus taught us everything we need to know.  We are to love God with every ounce of our being and love others as much as we love ourselves.

The first part most people get but it’s the second commandment that throws some for a loop.  The most vivid recent example of what it means to love others as much as self can be seen in Houston and the surrounding area, as first responders and countless volunteers using their own boats, float through the streets rescuing people who are stranded in the flood waters and are in danger of drowning.

One rescuer that stands out for me is a young student from Texas A&M that heard of the urgent need so he and a friend loaded up his boat and drove to Houston.  I know about Austin’s experience because he allowed a CNN reporter to travel with him through the neighborhoods as he rescued one family after another including an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s.  He truly loved others and it showed.

Today as you meet all the demands of the day, remember what our rabbi taught – Love God – Love others.  That pretty much sums up what we are all about.

Prayer:  Dear Gracious Heavenly God, please help me to live by the standard your son taught. Help me to put you first in every aspect of my life.  Help me to love others as much as I love myself.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Jesus taught us everything we need to know.  All we have to do is do it.

Also, just for the record, Chris did get to kiss Danielle.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.

Tom Robbins