October 24, 2021: Pentecost 23

Let us pray: Dear Lord, in You, with You, and because of You we live, move, and have our very being.  You alone are God Almighty.  You alone deserve all praise, honor and glory.  You are our Creator, our Redeemer, and the One Who makes us holy.  May we always give You the praise You deserve.  Amen


TEXT:   Deuteronomy 6: 1-9

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          The other morning I found myself lying on the table in my acupuncturist’s office.  I’ve read a book on acupuncture and I find fascinating the things they can achieve with simple needles inserted into just the right place.  He’s very learned, practicing 17 years, and I asked him about how they came up with the whole concept well over 2000 years ago.  How did they know what to do and where to do it?  He related how the ancient texts talked about: “breath.”   That made me think of Genesis and how God breathed into Adam the “breath of life.”  In Hebrew it was the “ruach Yahweh.” 

          As I lay on the table with needles in my head and left ankle, I thought some more.  All such treatments really relate back to natural theology and vestiges of the Godly insight and ability that God breathed into Adam and Eve.  Some of those insights still live on in some blest people.   How many other such insights have been lost over time? I mentioned some of this to my practitioner and also told him about how the most holy name for God Almighty  was: “Yahweh”  a derivative of the Hebrew verb: to  be.  God is. He is present reality.  All creation finds itself contained in His beingness.  We could say: His breath is everywhere.  Yes, the residue of man’s natural knowledge of God still clings to aspects of our being, including ancient medicine. 


          The children of Israel were about to enter the Promised land.  They had encamped on the east side of the Jordan river and now Moses gave them final instructions. And the very first thing he repeats to them is the 1st commandment. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.”   It sounds so simple.  Place God #1 in your life.  He’s the One Who gave you the breath of life.  He’s the One Who kept you safe those 40 years in the wilderness after delivering you from slavery in Egypt.  He’s the One Who gave you food and water every day.  He’s the source of life—your life.  So just put Him # 1.  Pray to Him in times to trouble.  Honor Him every morning and every night.  Thank Him daily for His goodness.  Talk to others about His goodness extended to you.  And obey His wise commands.   You’ll be spared, He’ll spare  you, from much heartache and sadness.    Folks this is the whole point of life in a nutshell.  Isn’t the meaning of life to get closer to God?  Isn’t it to possess His blessing?  Isn’t it to have our brain enlarged and our soul and spirit uplifted by His life-sustaining breath? 


          So, why don’t people do this?  Why isn’t every single American citizen in God’s church on Sunday morning to honor the blessed Trinity?  You know why.  It’s called sin.    It’s called pride, laziness, an ungrateful spirit, misplaced priorities, or basically an apathetic attitude about life.  All that is a far cry from Moses’ words here where he tells the people to write God’s commandments on their doorframes and on little strips of paper which they should tie to their foreheads to remind them of God’s love literally every moment of every day. 

          Adam and Eve were created perfect, without sin.  Evil came into human life when they invited it into their hearts by forgetting the 1st commandment.  It totally corrupted all creation and left us forlorn and fearful of the future because it also brought death.  I’m fascinated at how fearful people have become in the face of a microscopic  virus.  Talk about missing the forest by gazing on a bit of fungi!  The 1st commandment refocuses us on the totality of the universe that God created just us for!  And that whole beautiful panoply of reality and goodness is ours to enjoy without fear because our wise God has saved us by grace alone through the sacrifice of His Son.  The joy this brings is encapsulated by St. Paul when he exclaims in triumph: “To live is Christ and to die is gain!”  That’s because by faith alone we don’t die forever, but are resurrected with Him and assumed into heaven. 

          From acupuncture to a baby’s smile God has left us with insights into His goodness, care, and compassion for all of us.  His reality is timeless and boundless.  And He sent Christ to redeem us so that we would have certainty as to His love.  Don’t you think He’s worth loving and obeying with “all your heart, soul, strength and mind?”   So, let go of fear, anger, mistrust, and pride, give yourself over to Him every moment, honor Him every day.  Yes, just do it!  Amen

THE peace of God which….

Pastor Thomas H. Fox 

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