November – Where do we find our value
Isaiah 25:6 – 9
Who is a saint?
All Saints’ Day, is also called the Feast of All Saints, is celebrated every year on November 1 by the Roman Catholic Church. With some variation, Some Protestant denominations also celebrate this day. It is about the honouring of all saints and martyrs who have died for the Christian faith.
Prophet Isaiah predicted in this prophecy that all peoples, including Jews and Gentiles will come together for a Messianic feast prepared by God. In this feast God will end death forever and the invitees are like the Saints and Martyrs who have been living by faith. Do we only need to die in order to receive recognition as saints? Not at all, the act of a saint is an act of kindness, and a sacrifice for another life and we can do it while still here on earth.
How do I act like a Saint? Do we only act in a saint like manner for saint like recognition?
Mark 12:28 – 34
Jesus’ core value statement
This passage is well-known as Jesus’ teaching of the greatest commandment. Jesus declared that the entire law could be reduced to loving God with all our hearts and loving our neighbours as we love ourselves. Many churches have mission statements that include a version of this Commandment to define a loving and caring church.
Many organisations have clear core value statements to describe their beliefs and behaviours with words such as integrity, honesty, respect and trust. Jesus’ clear core statement here is seemingly simple yet profound in its complexity – it is to be loving. Since we are followers of Jesus Christ, then we are included in Jesus’ core value statement. We must actively participate in being loving to our neighbours.
What is your personal core value statement? What is your love statement?
Verse one in this Psalm says it all for leaders. Our security is found in God and not in followers. We have heard such expressions that families, churches, organisations and countries need more builders than maintenance managers. As builders, those in leadership positions need to dream more, create more and build up the community and its people. In doing so, this Psalm is a reminder that people cannot provide security. Smart leaders place God at the centre of their life because God is the ultimate builder. God should be the sure foundation and security to all life’s work. Life without God is meaningless.
How can we build our house without free help from God the builder?
Mark 13:1 – 8
Imagine the uncertain future
After Jesus’ comment about the imminent destruction of the temple, the Disciples were keen to find out when it would happen. What are the signs? Instead of answering directly with a definite date and a recognisable clue, Jesus gave them his prediction of future events and left it to them to figure it out.
It is in our human nature to want certainty and knowledge. Whether the news is impacting us or not, true, gossip or fake news, it does not matter. We just want to be the first receiver of the news. How many times we hear people sharing with us some news with a caution, “Please keep this confidential!”. Then we find ourselves asking – if it is confidential then why are you telling us. The Disciples wanted inside knowledge, but instead Jesus gave them list of events about the future in order for them to re-organise their way of life in the present.
Can we trust a future that is not laid out clearly for us? Are we sometimes like the Disciples trying to protect our beautiful church buildings?
John 18:33 – 37
Jesus is Lord and King.
I remember one of the songs from The Lion King that young Simba sang, “I just can’t wait to be king”. Simba knew that since his father is the king, one day his turn will come. I grew up in Tonga with a monarchy government, and to become a king you must be born into the royal family. There is no chance of a boy from outside the royal family to become a future king. This is the case in all countries with monarchys. This Sunday is Christ the King Sunday, and this is interesting as Jesus’ earthly father Joseph was not a king but a carpenter. People called Jesus the King — even Pilate — not because of his birthright but because of his actions in testifying to the truth and caring for the most vulnerable people. Jesus is rightfully called King, since God is the ruler of Heaven and Earth. The Psalter in the Together in Songs hymn no 89 is very fitting for this Sunday. “ O Lord, you are my God and King, and I will always bless your name, I will extol you every day and evermore your praise proclaim.”
How do you serve your King of life? Can we learn from his example of actions rights over birthright?
These reflections were prepared by the Rev. Haloti Kailahi