Gospel: Matthew 22.35-40 The Greatest Commandment
35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Jesus a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” AMEN.
When Jesus was walking around the dusty roads and distant paths of Palestine, many people followed him, and even more people gathered when he came to their village. People wanted to meet him. People wanted to listen to him. People wanted to be near him.
Jesus spoke, and people listened. Jesus words were gentle and wise, and they were giving people hope, encouragement and faith. Jesus presence and his words seemed to embrace people with love and grace.
As we gather for service today, celebrate baptism and communion together, we too listen to his words and are embraced by his grace.
From that embrace of love, faith and hope, he sends us all into life again and gentle reminds us: Go! Go and do likewise. Go and be kind. Go and be gentle. Go and be patient. Go and be among others with care, compassion and kindness.
To be kind is to be gentle, thoughtful, helpful, and forgiving at times when it would be so easy to be angry. To be kind is to resist just thinking of yourself, and start thinking about others. Kindness is like honey; it dulls the sting of anger, sorrow, unkindness or loneliness. A kind word or a kind hug can conquer anger, calm the spirits and even start a friendship.
Do you know what RAOK stands for?
The sentiment is from the phrase: “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” We might ask: Why – why should we show kindness ? Why – well here in the church the answer is Jesus: because Jesus told us to be kind and be mindful of the beauty of creation. Kindness and goodness begin with a single act… We are on our way into Thanksgiving Week and next Thursday we will be celebrating Thanksgiving with our families and friends. Hopefully we will all be able to sit at a table with joy and grace, be embraced with kindness and care – and give thanks for the beauty of friendships, families and food.
But Thanksgiving is more than family, friends and food. Thanksgiving is the time to focus on random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.
It is not as hard as it sounds – and remember it’s never too soon to be kind! And it is never to late be kind. It is always the right time to be kind!
You will all gets a chart of Random Acts of Kindness.
As we get them to you, please think for a moment: when was the past time you di something nice for your neighbor, your teacher, your friend or even a total stranger? When was the last time someone surprised you with an act of unexpected kindness or when where you silenced by a senseless act of beauty?
Well – now you all have your chart of RAOK.
1. I want you to look at it and with your pencil, circle one act of kindness you did last week. And now turn to the one next to you and tell about that act of kindness and how it made you feel.
2. Now: I want you to make a Thanksgiving promise. Repeat after me: I promise---- to do ---- 5 kind things – this week.
3. Now: please take you time and mark 5 things you promise to do in the next week. Mark them with a heart! Take your time….
4. And now as we always do here at church after the sermon; we greet each other. With a handshake or maybe even with a hug! Today I will ask you to fulfill 3 of the kind acts on the chart as you greet: 1. Smile at everyone you come across, 2. Give out free hugs, 3. Say Hello
5. So Please rise: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of us. Let us greet one another with a smile, a hello and a hug!