Sunday (Zoom from the sanctuary) message: The greatest of all is…

Worship on the Lord’s Day

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

Greeting
Lighting of the Christ candle

Welcome and announcements

Silent preparation for worship

Opening words:

L: Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth
P: God’s steadfast love endures forever
L:  Lift up your hearts!
P: We lift them up to the Lord!

Opening praise: Love the Lord your God

Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind
with all your strength,

With all your heart, with all your soul,
With all your mind, with all your strength

Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind
with all your strength

I will serve the Lord with all my heart
With all my soul, with all my mind
And with all my strength

Songwriter: Lincoln Brewster © Universal Music
Publishing Group. Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​.
All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Call to worship:

L: The Lord our God has been
our dwelling place in all generations.
P: From everlasting to everlasting
     God is God,
     and so we come to worship.
L: O God, satisfy us every morning
with your steadfast love,
P: so that we may rejoice
    and be glad all our days.
L: Let us tell of God’s glorious power
and praise God’s holy name.
P: We offer God the work of our hands
     and praise from the depths
     of our hearts.
 All: Let us worship God together!

Prayers of approach and confession

Response: I will trust in the Lord

Assurance of God’s forgiveness

Response: Be still and know

Prayers for God’s help and guidance

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time   (Open our eyes, Lord 445; Lord’s Prayer 535)

Book of Praise: Praise, I will praise        420

Praise, I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart.
O God, I will tell the wonders of your ways,
and glorify your name.

Praise, I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart.
In you I will find the source of all my joy. Alleluia!

Love, I will love you, Lord, with all my heart.
O God, I will tell the wonders of your ways,
and glorify your name.

Love, I will love you, Lord, with all my heart.
In you I will find the source of all my joy. Alleluia!

Serve, I will serve you, Lord, with all my heart.
O God, I will tell the wonders of your ways,
and glorify your name.

Serve, I will serve you, Lord, with all my heart.
In you I will find the source of all my joy. Alleluia!

Words and music Claude, Fraysse © The Hymnal Project
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555​.
All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Scripture readings:

Psalm 1  responsive OT(CEV)

L: God blesses those who refuse evil advice and will not follow sinners or join them in sneering at God.
P: Instead, following the Way of the LORD makes people happy, and they think about it day and night.
L: Followers of the Way of the LORD are like trees growing beside a stream,
P: Those trees produce fruit in season and always have leaves.
All: Followers of the Way of the LORD succeed in everything they do.
L: That isn’t true of those who intend to cause harm,
P: because they are like straw blown by the wind.
L: Sinners won’t have an excuse on the day of judgment,
P: and they won’t have a place with the people of God.
L: The LORD protects everyone who follows in the LORD’s Way,
P: but those who intend to cause harm follow a road that leads to ruin.

Matthew 22:34-46          p.22 NT (The Voice)

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, a group of Pharisees met to consider new questions that might trip up Jesus35 A legal expert thought of one that would certainly stump Him.

Pharisees: 36 Teacher, of all the laws, which commandment is the greatest?

Jesus (quoting Scripture): 37 “Love the Eternal One your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.” 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is nearly as important, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  40 The rest of the law, and all the teachings of the prophets, are but variations on these themes.

41 Since the Pharisees were gathered together there, Jesus took the opportunity to pose a question of His own.

Jesus: 42 What do you think about the Anointed One? Whose Son is He?

Pharisees: But, of course, He is the Son of David.

Jesus: 43 Then how is it that David—whose words were surely shaped by the Spirit—calls Him “Lord”? For in his psalms David writes,

44     The Master said to my master
“Sit here at My right hand,
in the place of honor and power,
And I will gather Your enemies together,
lead them in on hands and knees,
and You will rest Your feet on their backs.”

45 How can David call his own Son “Lord”?

46 No one had an answer to Jesus’ question. And from that day forward, no one asked Him anything.

Response:  Glory to the Father

Message: “The greatest of all is…”

The three words, “I love you” have been said and are said umpteen times every day. It has also been estimated that more than 100 million love songs — songs about love — have been recorded, and the variety is staggering. [i] It doesn’t take much to notice how much the word love is used in our regular day-to-day world.

According to our New Testament reading, we heard: “This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’” The greatest of all is love.

I’ve often wondered how much Jesus meant of what we as Westerners regard as self-love as derived from the simple phrase “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Have we in our time not possibly distorted this passage immensely?

Yes, a person who loves themself is highly regarded. But then on the other hand, I even once watched a video about “Invisible child abuse” in which Rick Roderick indicates how much invisible child abuse happens without anyone ever realizing it. The first person, a woman, in the video says the following about herself:

“I was thinking a lot about my life lately. And it’s a strange thing to me because I feel like I have so many things that I love in my life right now. I love my job, which has turned out to be a success beyond what I ever imagined, really. I travel all over the world.

I head a European office. I meet clients every day where I walk in the room and I present my ideas. I have a lot of friends that I really care for. And still, I find myself, I mean, it’s rare a day when I get up and really feel good about myself.” [ii]

This posture in life isn’t corrected by simple therapy and helping a person to realize they need to have a sense of “love for themselves.” There aren’t easy fixes. There is also no parent that is perfect. The most mature and well-intentioned parent can still lead their child in a direction of self-doubt. It happens inadvertently. Each child develops their own personality and all we as adults can do is to support the kids as they grow up.

See, in popular circles the verse about loving our neighbour as yourself” is often paraded as a text which teaches that we are commanded to love ourselves, says Daniel Wallace. [iii] Thus, the implied meaning is, “You shall love your neighbour just as you are to love yourself.”  This view seems to have come from secular psychologists. For some of them, self-actualization is at the top of the pecking order of one’s goals. Would it be that from this point such a way of thinking was able to make its way into Christian circles?

It seems to be a bit of a false argument to go along this route. Unpacking the meaning of the verse opens up the following expanded translation: “You shall love your neighbour as you already do love yourself.” Therefore, self-love is assumed in this text, not commanded. It just doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to insist that we should love our neighbour as much as we should love ourselves. It’s not a standard or a norm, just simply something that is assumed.

Is self-love a biblical thing? Actually, yes. It is biblical in that it is assumed to be true. Of course, there are multiple places in Scriptures that suggest that our lives need to be other-directed. Looking at Philippians 2:3 “regard one another as more important than yourselves” would put things in balance. This is because any notion that our focus in life ought to be on our self, gets countered when we see others as more important than ourselves.

When we are absorbed with our own self it is something that is so endemic to human nature and specifically it is becoming the hallmark of our Western society. We seem to be propelling ourselves rapidly to narcissism and anarchy because of such attitudes. Looking closely at the Scriptures there is enough guidance against this, Scriptures speak plainly about it.

Jesus emphasized and displayed love. God uses it to describe God’s essential nature. The Holy Spirit pours it into our hearts. Jesus stressed it would be our identifying quality as his disciples. When it comes to discipleship, Christian virtue, and spiritual character, it boils down to love. Now we’re not talking about some sappy, flimsy, fleeting emotion. We’re talking about that determined, disciplined, and deliberate commitment to others to work what is for their best good in every situation.

Love means caring and sacrificing for others. Love means supporting and encouraging others. Love also means a harder part, and that is correcting and disciplining others. Love means standing up for truth when others want to abandon it for something cheap and artificial.

We are to love God from our toenails to the tops of our heads. But we cannot claim to love God and not love others. It all boils down to love. [iv]

In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote, “Do not waste your time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour — act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will come to love them right now, right here. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking that person more. If you do that person a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him or her less.” [v]

The greatest of all is…to love one another.

Amen

Book of Praise: The clay, stained hands 296

The clay-stained hands of love created human form,
Praise love that made us from the earth,
the love with clay-stained hands.

The healing hands of love gave speech and sight and strength,
Praise love that came to touch and heal,
the love with healing hands.

The wounded hands of love showed life had conquered death.
Praise love that came in servant form,
the love with wounded hands.

The hidden hands of love are building up the church,
Praise love that works with living stone,
the love with hidden hands.

We sing our praise, O Love, for your life-giving hands.
O Maker, Saviour, Spirit, God, we sing our praise to you.

Words by Richard D. Leach, music by Jack Noble White ©1994 Selah Publishing.
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555​.
All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

We respond to serve God

Prayer of gratitude

Response: Now thank we all our God

Reflection on giving

Book of Praise: The love of God            474

The love of God comes close
where stands an open door,
to let the stranger in,
to mingle rich and poor.

The love of God is here to stay,
embracing those who walk the Way;
the love of God is here to stay.

The peace of God comes close
to those caught in the storm,
forgoing lives of ease
to ease the lives forlorn.    (cont)

The peace of God is here to stay,
embracing those who walk the Way;
the peace of God is here to stay.

The joy of God comes close
where faith encounters fears,
where heights and depths of life
are found through smiles and tears.

The joy of God is here to stay,
embracing those who walk the Way;
the joy of God is here to stay.

The grace of God comes close
to those whose grace is spent,
when hearts are tired or sore
and hope is bruised and bent.

The grace of God is here to stay,
embracing those who walk the Way;
the grace of God is here to stay.

The Son of God comes close
where people praise his name,
where bread and wine are blest
and shared as when he came.

The Son of God is here to stay,
embracing those who walk the Way;
the Son of God is here to stay.

Words by John L Bell, © Iona Community (Scotland)
music by John David Edwards, Public Domain
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555​.
All rights reserved.
Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Sending out with God’s blessing

Response: God to enfold you

(Zoom breakout rooms)


10:00 am October 25, 2020

led by Rev. Heinrich Grosskopf

Elder: Heather Tansem

Children’s time: Lynn Vaughan

Vocalist: Glynnis McCrostie


[i] Chilton, M. (2020, February 14). Deconstructing The Love Song: How And Why Love Songs Work. Udiscovermusic. https://www.udiscovermusic.com/in-depth-features/deconstructing-the-love-song-how-they-work/

[ii] Firestone, R. Invisible child abuse. [Speech transcript]. Psychotherapy.net.

[iii] Wallace, Daniel B. (2004, June 22). Is self-love Biblical? Matthew 22:39. Bible.org. https://bible.org/article/self-love-biblical-matthew-2239

[iv] Heartlight devotionals: What Jesus Did! ‘Boils Down to Love’ — Matthew 22:39-40 (2017, October 24) https://www.heartlight.org/wjd/matthew/1024-wjd.html

[v] Sermon Illustrations. (2020, October 24). Love. http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/l/love.htm


Copyright 2020 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church
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