Habits of Grace – Monday Meditation from the Presiding Bishop

[March 30, 2020] As we learn how to adjust our lives given the reality of the coronavirus and the request to do our part to slow its spread by practicing physical distancing, I invite you to join me each week to take a moment to cultivate a ‘habit of grace.’ A new video meditation will be posted on Mondays through May.

March 30, 2020:  Love God, love your neighbor, love yourself

Last week I was reading in Matthew 22 and I noticed something that I hadn’t seen before. Matthew 22 is Holy Week, it’s smack dab in the middle of Holy Week. The conflict in Jerusalem is escalating. Jesus knows this and it’s at that point that he’s tested by, clearly someone who probably was trying to entrap him. He knows that. It was the guy who came up and said, “What is the greatest law in the entire legal edifice of Moses?” And Jesus responds, drawing on what Moses taught in the Hebrew scriptures, in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, “You shall love the Lord your God with all yourself, all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” And then he says, “On these two, hang all the law and the prophets.”

It hadn’t occurred to me that when Jesus said that, he was actually talking about how you live in an uncertain period of time. About how you live in any period of time. But how you navigate in particular in uncertain territory and tough territory. He was in uncertain territory in Holy Week, and it was tough territory. It wasn’t a pandemic. It was a passion. And he said, “Love God with everything you got. Love your neighbor in the same way. Love yourself.”

And so I decided last week that I was going to make sure every day I did three things very simply, or at least thought about them. How can I love God today? Very simply, nothing complex. How can I love my neighbor, others? How can I love myself? And it occurred to me that just sometimes asking the question, you may or may not have an answer, but you may figure out an answer for that day. That sometimes just asking the question can help in times of uncertainty, in days of pandemic, and in times when the days are just going to keep going on and on and on.

How can I love God today? How can I love my neighbor today? How can I love Michael today? One thing I’ve started doing in my prayer list, is keeping a list of groups of people to pray for. And I’ve been praying for first responders, folk who work in hospitals, the folk who keep the grocery stores open, the pharmacies, police officers, firefighters, ambulance folk. People we can’t even see. People who keep the Internet going. I mean all sorts of folk. And so, I would offer this prayer for all of them.

All of the people we don’t see, but who help to keep life livable, even in time of pandemic.

Keep watch dear Lord with those who work, or watch, or weep. And give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ. Give rest to the weary. Bless the dying. Soothe the suffering. Pity the afflicted. Shield the joyous. And all for your love’s sake. Amen.

Love God, love your neighbor, and love yourself, day by day.

God love you, and you keep the faith.

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