Message for Sunday 6 September 2020: “Mindful Love”

Today’s message begins with a profound opener: “[F]or the one who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8b). Paul emphasized love because there is nothing greater than love. All the Old Testament Law is fulfilled when people love one another.

People who want to know who and what God is must also know love because love is God’s essence. Both Jesus and Paul reiterated how when people love one another they are also loving God. Jesus taught the greatest commandment (Mark 12:29-31), which is to love with heart, soul, mind and strength. Similar is Jesus’ magnificent Golden Rule, which is to treat people as you want to be treated and to love other people as you want to be loved.

Consistent loving is not easy. If it were, then everyone would be doing it (which, sadly, they are not). Love must transcend trite slogans and become a revitalizing presence that energizes the core of your existence. If compassion is love in action then strive to become ever more active in receiving and sharing God’s love with every living creature. This is the heart of Jesus’ gospel and is the highest human aspiration.

Now transition to another of Paul’s topics, an encouragement about waking from spiritual slumber. Again, Paul says it best: “Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep” (Romans 13:11a). Time is paramount. Each day you move closer to the realization of your journey from this life to the next. Make no mistake: eternal life has already begun. Be awake and aware of the splendid task of living and loving while you can.

The science of psychology reveals much about awareness, which is a form of mindfulness. Being aware and mindful of who and what you are is critical to achieving a great life. People often don’t exercise proper awareness about their larger situation, their environment and other facts impacting broader humanity. A life of wellbeing requires that you not only know who you are but that you also realize how your choices impact the world. As a form of hyper-awareness, mindfulness helps you connect your thinking, sensations, emotions and feelings to where you are (physically, mentally & spiritually). Mindfulness helps you know who you are and how you act—or fail to—impacts your life and others.

Ready for the end? Paul wrote that he was and the overwhelming sense is that Christians of his day expected the world would soon collapse in a fit of fire and finality. For better or for worse—I think better!—the world didn’t end in the first-century CE as the early Christians expected. The sense of urgency in the New Testament writings is still unfulfilled because Jesus hasn’t returned and no one seems to have a valid clue as to if or when that will happen. Resist sinking into a faithless despair or a cynical apathy as fans debate the timing of biblical prophecy. Instead, take Paul’s advice to “live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness” (Romans 13:13a).

Living a great spiritual life doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Celebration is fine, such as when rejuvenating yourself and sharing the joy of God’s kingdom in a loving, compassionate manner. Living in mindful love isn’t dependent upon pin-pointing Jesus’ return or attending the latest Book of Revelation prophecy seminar. Take Paul’s advice to simply be ready for your end.

Discover who and what you are and choose to walk a path of continuous improvement. Be aware, awake and mindful of the redemptive love of God that makes for your best life. You’re invited to choose long-term joy over short-term indulgence. A life of wellbeing means that you are thinking and behaving in a holistic manner, which means that your body, mind and spirit are doing their part contributing to a comprehensively better you.

If you receive and share God’s love then you are on the right path. You needn’t hold your breath waiting for the angels’ trumpet to sound at the end of history. God’s marvelous spirt transforms and transports you miraculously in the here-and-now.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey

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