Towards the end of last year I thought I’d re-commence reading the Bible sequentially and try to take on the overall narrative as much as I can, without too much pondering or hip hopping from one book to another. And so I did, trudged along and recently finished reading the Old Testament.
So about nearly a couple of weeks ago I started on the New Testament and took in the Gospel narratives of Matthew and Mark. I should finish Mark today/tomorrow.
When one reads the gospel narratives by 2 different writers consecutively, one gets a sense of the statements or events which resonated with both the writers. One was the feeding of the multitudes, followed very soon by the incident where the disciples talked about not having bread. Jesus had just before that talked about being wary of the leaven of the Jewish leaders and the disciples then zeroed in on the fact that they had no bread with them, and were a little bit concerned.
Jesus’ admonition to remember what he did (in feeding the multitudes) in a way, says don’t worry about our feed.
Not long after that incident the narrative switched to a teacher who professed the greatest law in loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and the second being to love our neighbour as ourselves. These are more important edicts than those involving burnt offerings and sacrifices. When I read that (in Mark 12) I thought it meant the greatest 2 laws are far more important than what we do in and in relation to church. The Sunday services, the tithes, the home group attendances, the participation of church activities, are really all secondary rules and practices. If they all take precedence over the first two laws, we’ve missed the point.
They would have been obvious points. However in eking out a grind of a living it is easy to (1) think about where our daily bread is or will come from and (2) worry more about the burnt offering and sacrifices. Loving God with all of our being and loving my neighbour as myself needs to fight their ways to occupy more central focus.
So this arvo when I took my quick midday walk I sought out the couple of homeless persons I have often walked past. I didn’t see them today. I wanted to offer to buy them a meal – of hot soup maybe. Have a chat with them to see how they’re doing and how they’re coping. Maybe give them my coat if they needed something warmer. Do what’s needed to love them as myself. Maybe I’ll go look for one of them again tomorrow arvo. I’m kind of scared. But I think I’d try to.