Archive for November, 2015

November 1, 2015

Loving Our Neighbors (November)

One day a man approached Jesus with a question: What is the greatest commandment? Perhaps he thought if he could begin with this one, the others would be easier. Perhaps he thought if he understood the greatest commandment, it would put all the other commandments into perspective. Nevertheless, Jesus obliged and said,

‘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. (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV)

Why did Jesus add a second commandment? Why did he not answer the man’s question and move on? I am convinced that Jesus did this for those who believed that they could love God without loving their neighbor. For Jesus, obeying one of these commandments requires obeying the other one. As John puts it, “whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen (1 John 4:20 NIV).”

What does it look like for Mount Hermon Baptist Church to love her neighbors? This is a question we need to ask ourselves continually. We as a church have been trying to answer that question in new ways recently. A few months ago, we hosted Connect Sunday, a Sunday of inviting our neighbors and organizations in our neighborhood. If we are to love our neighbors, the first step is to get to know them!

Last month, we hosted the Block Party. Again we invited organizations in our neighborhood to work with us to make it a community event. Food truck, ice cream, live music, many vendors, IdentAKid, fire trucks, and games galore created an atmosphere of fun and learning to be better neighbors to one another. By all metrics, the afternoon was an immense success, and I again thank all who were a part of it, both Mount Hermon members and those outside the church.

I hope and pray that we can continue to host similar events for and with our community. We, however, can also go out and join neighborhood organizations, volunteering and working alongside them, seeking the common good for all people. May we be a force for good.

I want Mount Hermon to be known as a force for good. But I also want Mount Hermon to be known as a force for God. We do not do good because it’s a nice thing to do. We do it because God commands it. We do it because the Spirit empowers us to do it. We do it because we want to be like Jesus, doing good with no strings attached. And when we do, we discover that we have fulfilled both commandments of loving our God and loving our neighbor.

Pastor Rich