Summary: In this world that offers so many choices, it is difficult to focus on the one ultimate in life, our God, beside whom there is no other; loving God first is our life, our duty.
(Proper 26B) There is no other besides him
Devotion to the only One
Moses said to the people, “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the rules that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Psalm 119:1-8, (9-16) BCP 489
The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but Jesus holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
One of the scribes came up and heard the Sadducees disputing with one another, and seeing that Jesus answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
“There is no other besides him”
Anglicans of all Christian traditions, should know this verse from Mark better than any other.
Every Sunday in English churches all around the world the Summary of the Law is read to remind us of our proper response to the grace of God. Loving God and Loving neighbor.
Jesus said it, we can’t say it better. Most likely the homily should end here. And I can hear you say mentally, yes! Yes! End here. But there is also a tradition to be honored; sermons should be at least 6 minutes, and no more than 20 according to recent Anglican tradition. You may be thankful that you are not in some evangelical traditions where pastor labors on for an hour or two.
Today it has been five years since 9/11, we are in a war that has already surpassed WWII in length and it wears us down. We are tired of the fighting, the blasting of civilians, and the death and wounding of our soldiers. Then we have tragedies in our country. and in the midst of war our country was rocked by events beyond our control as we’ve seen cities stagger and people uprooted as a result of the great flooding and Hurricane that swept across the Gulf coast.