It’s late on Thursday evening as I write this Friday morning FFF post. I don’t feel as though I’ve accomplished very much today. I have found it hard to stay focussed, and some things that I knew I had to do today just haven’t got done. These FFF posts are usually prepared well in advance, but now it is late evening and I’m not ready for the early morning post. All in all a pretty messy and unsatisfying day.
In my class with the seminarians this morning I reflected on the importance of keeping perspective. They understood well what I was saying. Then I left the class and almost immediately lost perspective. I hope they did better than I did, and I hope they don’t read this to learn of my poor example!
Now in the still of the late evening I am sitting with this gospel reading for tomorrow:
“One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself.
When Jesus is asked by a scribe to name the greatest commandment he quotes the heart of Jewish law which forms the “Shema Yisrael” prayer from Deuteronomy 6:4 prayed by the faithful Jew every morning and evening:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
If you’re like me there are a dozen and more things pressing for centre space in your life. While some of these things are unhealthy compulsions and temptations, other pressures are good things and valid responsibilities like our concern in these days at the spread of COVID-19. But when we make these important things (eg. family and work responsibilities) the one central thing, we suffer stress and even life’s pleasures become a burden.
A healthy and happy person is one who keeps first things first.
I had a text message last week from friends whose 7 year old son playing with LEGO had without prompting produced this wonderful scene (above) of Jesus on the cross with a group of witness at the foot of the cross. I was very moved at the spontaneity and capacity for reflectiveness of the child who was obviously focussed on what was important as he worked on his little project. Later in the day his mother sent me a second image of a further-developed crucifixion scene. I saved it as the desktop image on my computer where it remains as a way of helping me remember who and what must be first in my life as I work.
A couple of days later I was visiting another family where the children were playing with LEGO and I showed them the Lego crucifixion scene. They were inspired and set to work creating this scene (below) of Noah’s ark.
- You might like to encourage children to create a bible scene from LEGO (or similar) Ask them to think of a great bible story, then search for it as an animated Youtube clip to give them ideas, then let them loose and send a pic of the completed work to me at www.foodforfaith.org.nz. I will post their work on this website each day as they come in.
- Over the next 24 hours consciously place Jesus at the centre of your life in every way. Take time at least morning and evening and at other moments to ask Jesus to take centre space, especially when you risk losing perspective. Now notice the priorities and responsibilities in your life fall into right order within the loving divine embrace.
- Pray this ancient prayer as often as you remember to during this week…
Teach me to love you
with all my heart,
all my soul,
all my mind,
and with all my strength.