I recently started biking again and remembered how much I love cycling. I love getting around under my own power. I love experiencing the natural world while I travel. I love feeling like the bike and I are companions. I love thinking about gearing and saddle positions. I love biking. I love biking so much that I think everyone who is able should try it. In fact, for a while when I was younger, I thought I would start a bike tour company that was designed around bike riding for everyone – not just those who were committed enough to wear spandex shorts. I love biking.
Take a moment – what is it that you love? What could you do for hours if you had no other obligations? What are you so loyal to that you can’t help but tell everyone you meet about it? Do you have a thing?
And actually while you’re at it – go ahead and make a list. What are your things? Where are your loyalties? What would you be willing to be an ambassador for? Go ahead, I’ll give you a few moments...
Ok, hopefully by now you have a list or at least a couple of things in your mind that you love. Here’s my guess, my guess is that you didn’t include God on that list.
At least a portion of this morning’s scripture should sound familiar.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
It’s the basis for Jesus answer when he is asked what is the greatest commandment – he reiterates, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength,” and then adds, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
We are living in a tumultuous period, global pandemic, racial tensions, awakenings, and protests, and Presidential turmoil. While all of this may have happened before in history, I dare say it’s never all happened at the same time. We are living through a period of history that is historical. It’s a period that will be documented and studied by future generations.
If we were ever going to put “loving God” on our list of things – this is the time. As people of faith, we have a unique opportunity to bear witness to the possibility and potential of living with God as our guide. As people of faith, we have a unique opportunity to bring hope of brighter times to those who despair. As people of faith we have the unique opportunity to shape the next reality such that the world that emerges from this tumult is one that love’s its neighbors.
But how can we possibly do that you might ask? How can we possibly do that when everything seems so overwhelming and out of our control?
Here’s what we must remember – we have a sacred book with sacred stories. The stories remind us of many times of tumult and trouble. Many times when people wondered how they could possibly survive or make it through. And yet, they did. Maybe outcomes were not what they wanted – but God remained with the people and they persisted.
And we have each other. Although we cannot gather in person, we are still a community. A community that connects and supports one another in an effort to live our lives as God intends.
Our gatherings, our prayers, our sermons, our stories, they are all there to strengthen us for this journey and to guide us – to help us hear God’s voice even if it is still and small. And so I challenge you, take your list – add loving God to it – and bring the world the hope it needs right now. Amen.