Here’s the Jesus Creed video which we watched this morning at the start out of the service:
Currently Duncan started a series focussed on ‘the Shema’, verses from Deuteronomy which he explained had been central for faith and life to Jewish persons, such as Jesus:
Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is a single. Enjoy the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy six:four-five)
The Shema and practising Jews now
Jews in Jesus time, and practising Jews now repeat the Shema twice each day. The Shema is central to the prayer life of just about every religiously observant Jewish individual. Duncan had been speaking to a young Australian lady named Rebecca who confirmed that this was her practice, and that she had a copy of the Shema held in a Mezuzah at the entrance to her flat in line with Deuteronomy six:9 ‘Write them on the door-frames of your homes and on your gates.’
Sharing our faith with our young children
As kid and adult Jesus would have repeated the Shema morning and evening. In our culture, we usually hear it mentioned ‘We do not force religious views on our young children, but leave them to make up their personal minds, and function issues out for themselves.’
The strategy right here is pretty the opposite:
These commandments that I give you now are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your young children. (Deuteronomy six:six-7)
The instruction is to let young children share totally in the expertise of faith and hope you have, and then they can make a decision. Kids can not make choices about faith in a vacuum.
Listening with each other
Speak about them when you sit at household and when you stroll along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy six:7)
It is a challenge to us to ask ourselves with each other ‘What is the Shema saying to us, about our lives, our faith, our actions, our hope, our disappointments?’
‘Hear, O Israel’ (Deuteronomy six:four)
The Shema is about listening with each other, about paying interest to what God could be saying and undertaking in our lives.
The energy of memory
The story is told of the comprehensive chaos that ensued in Europe in the 1930s and 40s as the Nazi threat to Jewish persons became much more and much more clear. In an try to save their young children, quite a few Jewish households asked Christian households and institutions, such as monasteries across Europe, to take in their young children and appear immediately after them.
Lots of of the households had been by no means reunited – they had been amongst the six million persons killed in the death camps.
Immediately after the war was more than, the query of these Jewish children’s futures came to the fore. Lots of of them had been offered away for safeguarding as small young children. Lots of had no information of their Jewish background, as they had been getting brought up in a Christian milieu. Most of them had no memory of who they had been.
In 1945, Rabbi Eliezer Silver was sent to Europe from the United States to enable reclaim Jewish young children who had been hidden for the duration of the holocaust.
How was he capable to learn the Jewish young children?
He would go to gatherings of young children in classrooms and playgrounds, and loudly proclaim the Shema:
Sh’ma Yisra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.
(Hear, Israel, the Lord is Our God, the Lord is 1)
Then he would appear at the faces of the young children, and time and time once more, he saw the animation and the emotion in the children’s eyes. Kids would stroll towards him when they heard the Shema – these young children whose distant memory of getting Jewish was their mothers placing them to bed each evening and saying the Shema with them.
Sh’ma Yisra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.
The Shema is a prayer, and declaration of faith which encourages us as believers to concentrate our lives and our energies about loving God. ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be considering about what that may well imply for every a single of us. What does ‘loving God’ appear like on an typical weekday?
Jesus and the Shema
Jesus quoted this as ‘the greatest commandment’, and then did anything new in connection with the Shema, quoting words from Leviticus 19:18 (See Matthew 22:34 -40):
“Love your neighbour as your self.
All God’s commandments, Jesus mentioned, are basically adding detail to these basic principles: appreciate God appreciate your neighbour appreciate your self.
What are the implications of this in every day life? We have a lot of listening and considering to do! Duncan mentioned ‘I assume we would all agree that Enjoy is at the heart of what it implies to be a follower of Jesus. We could possibly describe it as a core worth of our faith.’
What does it imply to appreciate God?
What does it imply to appreciate our neighbour?
What does it imply to appreciate ourselves?
Discerning answers to these concerns is our challenge for the weeks ahead!