NL: The Greatest Commandment and the Widow’s Mite: Mark 12:28-44 (March 22, 2020/Fourth Sunday of Lent)

Note: This passage raises questions about what Jesus means by noting the widow’s contribution. It is not clear whether he is commending her, condemning the authorities and/or both. We serve a congregation where we have many people living on fixed incomes in homes that are already paid for and who have very little, if any, “expendable” income, so caution and prayer are in order!  For a discussion of the pitfalls of the passage, see

http://www.ekklesiaproject.org/blog/2012/11/the-lord-upholds-the-orphan-and-the-widow/ devouring the widows as primary to understanding “the widow’s mite”

all to Worship:

Come let us love the Lord!

Let us Love the God with all of our heart, soul and mind

Come Let us love one another and love God!

Let us praise God!

 

EXEGESIS

From Working Preacher from the NL perspective:http://www.workingpreacher.org/search/Default.aspx?cx=001947499050786061073:fplx-aun2rq&q=:Mark%2012:28-44%20&cof=FORID:10&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&search_domain=WWW

Includes https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2585 addressing the horizontal/neighbor dimension as the necessary corollary to the vertical/Godward directive to love God and the widow’s mite as admirable due to her motivation.

Includes https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2585 which notes this is (for a change) a friendly scribe. Only addresses vv. 28-34.

https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1272 also addresses only vv.28-34 from the perspective of a communal (rather than individual) identity.

Includes https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2662, which notes that widow’s mite is tied to what comes before and, in addition to being about giving one’s all, it exposed the religious leaders for their hypocrisy. And, it may just expose us all!

https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2585 Podcast: If you can’t remember all the commandments, can you at least do two?  Simple—but not easy. vv. 28-34

https://www.workingpreacher.org/narrative_podcast.aspx?podcast_id=730 Podcast addressing the status of the poor widow and the most vulnerable and her living out the loving of neighbor of the great commandment in the context of the temple & Jesus’ interactions with the religious leaders of the day. vv. 35-44.

Other exegetical resources

https://www.epriest.com/reflections/view/1071/en Catholic resource addressing love beyond formalism, love at the heart of our perfection.

https://episcopalchurch.org/library/sermon/there-are-times-proper-26-b-1997 This sermon includes an illustration and a poem; only addresses vv. 28-34.

http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm/ref/collection/uni_sermons/id/3110 Sermon addressing loving God in the different ways of the passage (only vv. 28-34).

https://blog.reformedjournal.com/2016/03/07/love-your-neighbor-as-yourself/ What keeps you from loving your neighbor? Busyness? Not wanting to see need? Uses Bob Dylan’s quote:  “May you always do for others and let others do for you” and has a story illustrating letting others do for you.

https://www.thebanner.org/columns/2018/08/serving-while-living-with-disabilities  “Serving while living with disabilities” Every person is called to serve as they are able. Everybody belongs. Everybody serves. Addresses vv. 35-44.

https://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/1871/whole-personed-spirituality Pastor’s Bible study addressing the synoptic versions of the Great Commandment. Addresses vv. 28-34.

https://www.theologyofwork.org/the-high-calling/management-self-management-deuteronomy-6-sermon-notes Sermon series on loving God and loving neighbor.

Liturgical Resources

https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/10/readers-theatre-mark-12-28-34.html  Reader’s theater version of Mark 12:28-34

Here’s the link to my bulletin https://1drv.ms/w/s!AuB3z496aTHTgcEOBjQ3Twy3sqAMzQ

Prayer Reflection: Mark 12: 28-34

“Love the Lord, your God
with all your heart
with all your soul
and with all
your mind.”

Lord,
let this be.
Show us how.

“And love your neighbor as yourself.”

Lord
let this be
Take us where
we surely need to go.

Let
your love be
the lens that lets us see,
the power that enlivens our lives,
light that points to the path,
and the very grace
that saves
us.

Kindly fill us with your love.

— A. Osdieck. Copyright © 2011, The Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University. Visit that site for other lectionary-based prayers.

https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/06/call-to-worship-index-new-testament.html

https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/06/prayer-index-new-testament.html

https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2017/03/confession-assurance-index-new-testament.html

Benediction: The Lord is One

Here’s a closing commission and benediction based on Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Matthew 12:28-34.  It was written by Nathan Nettleton.

Commission & Benediction

(inspired by Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Matthew 12:28-34)


Hear this: the Lord our God is the one and only Lord.
Therefore go out into the world
and love the Lord your God
with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,
and love others as you love yourself.

And may God give you justice and freedom;
May Christ Jesus set you free for love;
and may the Holy Spirit go where you go
……..and protect you on your way.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen.

~ Copyright © 2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Children’s message (includes hymn & prayer of confession, see below)

http://worshipingwithchildren.blogspot.com/2015/10/year-b-proper-26-31st-sunday-in.html

Sing one song with which to love God and one about loving each other.  Introduce each identifying its purpose.  Two possibilities:

“For the Beauty of the Earth” for loving God

“Lord Help Us Accept Each Other” for loving each other

>  Base the Prayer of Confession on the two great commandments.  As you do, remember that children respond more to specifics than to generalities.  So you may want to name the currently “in” sport rather than simply “our sports.”  Read the commandments just before the congregation prays as follows

Lord God, we know that you are ONE and that you are the center of the whole universe

but we treat all sorts of things as if

they were more important than the one true God.

We say we give our hearts to you

but often our hearts are more devoted to

what we wear, to our sports, and to our friends.

We pour out our souls to you when we need you

but not when life is smooth and easy.

We mean to love you with all our minds

but our minds stray to what we want

and what others are saying.

We are more likely to use our strength to get what we need and want

than to get what you want for us and those around us.

We love the neighbors we choose to love

and only when they love us back.

Forgive us.  Write your commands on our hearts and souls and in our minds.  Work it into our muscles so that we may truly be your people.

We pray in the name of Jesus who poured out his heart and soul and mind and strength for us and forgives us when we turn on him.  Amen.

SONGS:

HYMNS
Christ is made the sure foundation   ELW 645, H82 518, NCH 400, UMH 559
Blessing and Honor   ELW 854

Hymnary.org: https://hymnary.org/texts?qu=Mark+12%3A28-34&media=text&page=0

A new source I just found for contemporary Christian songs that includes the NL passages can be found at:

https://wordtoworship.com/search/node/%7BMark%2012:28-44;%20Psalm%2089:1-4%7D

For this pericope, they list:

No Other Gods

By David Moffitt. As performed by ZOE Group.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:28-34
Related to tags(s): Reign (via Mark 12:36);

Love the Lord

By Lincoln Brewster.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:30; Mark 12:33
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);

Hear Our Song

By Jadon Lavik, Marc Byrd, et al.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:1-2

Pour My Love On You

By Dan Dean, Gary Sadler.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:1
Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);

Sing Of Your Great Love

By Darlene Zschech.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:1
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);

Look To You

By Marty Sampson.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:32
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);

While We Still Have Time

By Ted Wortham, Cynthia Biggs. As performed by Cindy & Roy.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:38
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);

You Are The One

By Keith Green, Melody Green-Sievright.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:2
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);

More Love More Power

By Jude Del Hierro.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:30
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);

I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever

By Martin Smith. As performed by Delirious?, SONICFLOOd, Encounter Worship Band.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:1
Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30);

You Are Mine

By Brad Avery, David Carr, et al. As performed by Third Day.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30); Love (via Mark 12:30);

Come Now is the Time to Worship

By Brian Doerksen.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:30

Beautiful Saviour

By Stuart Townend.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:1

Winter Snow

By Audrey Assad.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:33

Back where i belong

As performed by Life Worship.

Related to verse(s): Psalm 89:4

To Know Your Name

By Matt Crocker. As performed by Hillsong.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1); Love (via Mark 12:30); Name of Jesus (via Mark 12:35);

Concrete Castle King

By Lloyd Oliver Willis Sr.. As performed by Dennis Brown.

Related to verse(s): Mark 12:38

No Greater Love

By Audrey Assad, Chris Tomlin, et al.

Related to tags(s): Poverty (via Mark 12:41); Love (via Mark 12:30); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);

Kings & Queens

By Chuck Butler, Joel Parisien, et al. As performed by Audio Adrenaline.

Related to tags(s): Poverty (via Mark 12:41); Social Justice (via Mark 12:31; Mark 12:40); Love (via Mark 12:30);

If We Are The Body

By Mark Hall.

Related to tags(s): Social Justice (via Mark 12:31; Mark 12:40); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1); Love (via Mark 12:30);

Compassion Hymn

By Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, et al.

Related to tags(s): Social Justice (via Mark 12:31; Mark 12:40); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);

God Of Justice

By Tim Hughes.

Related to tags(s): Social Justice (via Mark 12:31; Mark 12:40); Poverty (via Mark 12:41); Justice (via Mark 12:31);

The Lost are Found

By Ben Fielding, Sam Knock.

Related to tags(s): Social Justice (via Mark 12:31; Mark 12:40); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1); Justice (via Mark 12:31);

One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)

By Brian Johnson, Christa Black, et al. As performed by Kristian Stanfill, Jesus Culture, Bethel Live.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30);

Lead Me

By Chris Rohman, Jason Ingram, et al.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);

The Power Of The Cross

By Keith Getty, Stuart Townend.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);

Emmanuel

By Vicky Beeching.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);

Oh, Great Love Of God

By David Crowder, Mark Waldrop, et al. As performed by David Crowder Band.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);

My Hope

By Edward Mote, Matt Redman, et al.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Name of Jesus (via Mark 12:35);

This Is How We Know

By Beth Redman, Matt Redman.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);

Ancient Skies

By Michael Gungor, Michael Rossback. As performed by Gungor.

Related to tags(s): Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1);

I Will Go

By Allen Salmon, Jon Neufeld, et al. As performed by Starfield.

Related to tags(s): Social Justice (via Mark 12:31; Mark 12:40); Poverty (via Mark 12:41);

Rock Of Ages You Will Stand

By Brenton Brown, Paul Baloche.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30);

Micah 6:8

By Charlie Hall.

Related to tags(s): Justice (via Mark 12:31); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1); Witness (via Mark 12:33);

Jesus You Are Worthy

By Brenton Brown, Don Williams.

Related to tags(s): Mercy (via Psalm 89:1); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);

Jesus Messiah

By Chris Tomlin, Daniel Carson, et al.

Related to tags(s): Messiah (via Mark 12:36); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);

How Beautiful

By Twila Paris.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);

Offering

By Brad Avery, David Carr, et al.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);

I Will Always Love Your Name

By Paul Oakley.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);

Obsession

By Martin Smith.

Related to tags(s): Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30); Love (via Mark 12:30);

There Is A Redeemer

By Melody Green-Sievright.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Messiah (via Mark 12:36);

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

By Stuart Townend. As performed by Instrumental Worship.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);

Good To Me

By Craig Musseau.

Related to tags(s): Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1);

You Never Let Go

By Beth Redman, Matt Redman.

Related to tags(s): Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30); Love (via Mark 12:30);

Almighty

By Brenton Brown, Paul Baloche.

Related to tags(s): Judgment (via Mark 12:40); Kingdom (via Psalm 89:4); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1);

Forever

By Chris Tomlin. As performed by Encounter Worship Band, Robin Mark.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30);

Amazing Love

By Graham Kendrick.

Related to tags(s): Love (via Mark 12:30); Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42);

You Are Good

By Israel Houghton.

Related to tags(s): Faithfulness (via Psalm 89:1; Mark 12:30); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1);

Sweetly Broken

By Jeremy Riddle.

Related to tags(s): Justice (via Mark 12:31); Mercy (via Psalm 89:1); Love (via Mark 12:30);

You Bled

By Rend Collective Experiment.

Related to tags(s): Sacrifice (via Mark 12:33; Mark 12:42); Love (via Mark 12:30);Image result for Sacrifice of love

“I believe that…

“I believe that appreciation is a holy thing–that when we look for what’s best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something sacred.” ~Mr Rogers

Mr. Rogers

When your heart is breaking….

Yesterday my heart broke….It was a difficult day with sad decisions and a good look at how temptation effects our lives….

Isn’t it interesting how it is easier to believe and remember evil than good? (for more on Good and Evil look here)

If you preach a sermon 90% about gospel and 10% about sin, most people remember the sin portion.

Why is evil so much easier to connect with? I think some of this has to do with our insecurity. Ted talk The Power of Vulnerability tackles this issue with storyteller/researcher Brene Brown.

In fact a lot of people I know don’t believe in Hell (Christians obviously included)…

So why then are the “less happy” endings more believable??? Why is it that “truth is hard” is the “real world” mantra

I don’t think life is shit and we struggle through it the best we can. I don’t think life is brutish, nasty, short. I think there is MORE than that.

But when my heart breaks, when difficult decisions are made, when people don’t show love and care towards one another, when people-hate-the-sin-not-the-sinner, when they fall back on smile-Jesus-Loves-you, when they use religion (as the TED video says) to provide answers instead of exploring faith), when people struggle with addiction, when parents don’t take good care of their children….

When these things happen, when its clear that the world is not perfect because of our self doubt, it is important to remember Jesus made us and loves us exactly the way we are…

Jesus believes that we are equipped, as those made in God’s image and as co-creators, to spread the good news…

https://i0.wp.com/radiofreebabylon.com/RFB%20Images/CoffeeWithJesus/coffeewithjesus500.jpg

How do we know this? Because Jesus spent time as one of us. Jesus went to the desert and endured the Devil telling Jesus …you are not good enough, you are not a success, you can’t help in God’s work, you need (food, drink, success, fame) Me, the devil, to get there…Matthew 4:8-10 (Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”). And Jesus says, no, the way is through love and God, its through knowing myself as an intricate, important and beloved part of God’s plan and I don’t need to be perfect/in control/married/successful/rich to do that…I just need to be grounded and centered on God (Matthew 4:10Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.) Take that evil. Yes, evil exists, yes life is difficult, no I don’t think we have to accept the chains of temptation, we don’t have value our “Success” the way the world does. Instead we can depend on God (we don’t need to dull the pain or even control it), we can know Christ has been there, understands that we stumble and loves that about us, because we are stumbling on his path, we are doing the best we can, and we are created in his image. We participate in Lent, so that we can participate more fully in Easter–we participate in Lent, because its a part of life, but we also participate in it so we can acknowledge that EASTER wins!!! All the time, everytime (even during Lent, Easter creeps through on Sundays!!!) Easter like Christmas, needs to be lived (see my post on Being Christmassed for more)

comic

Please note: I discuss heartbreak and difficulty as a tangible part of life (for more look at Anne Lamott’s thoughts here)

BUT: The Good news has written the ending for us, and we can Participate in God’s Celebration…we don’t have to just watch or hum along to God’s Concert–we can party and scream all the words<<——–THIS IS THE MESSAGE, try to remember this, don’t walk away already forgetting the good news

Good News: Jesus is the Savior

Better News; So you don’t have to be (subtext you get to help!!)

So the hard decisions were made, I am continuing to pray, to live into hope, to put into practice God’s love and care and to trust that my participation although it feels small is important and that the love I show has had meaning…and really knowing that heals my heart even as its broken (just as God heals are brokenness in a broken world)…I wonder if this is how Christ feels when he makes loving and difficult decisions on our behalf…Good news JESUS is the savior….Jesus loves ALL of us, no matter what. Amen.

Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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