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September 11

Matthew 22, 37-38

Something to read

He said to him, '“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment.’

New Revised Standard Version

To read the King James Version, click here

Something to think about

Jesus responds to his questioner with the familiar words of the Jewish confession known as the Shema, based on Deuteronomy 6 v4-5, although in this instance omitting the opening words ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’

Other Jewish scholars argued for the pre-eminence of the command to honour one’s parents, but many would have agreed with Jesus, stressing the importance of loving God.

To separate out heart, soul and mind is not to differentiate these as elements of our human make-up but to express a totality of our response to God. It is with our entire life and whole being that we should love God.

Matthew does not record his reaction but what do you think the lawyer made of Jesus’ answer? (Contrast with the positive response of the scribe described in Mark 12 v32-33.)

What would it mean for you to love the Lord God in this way?

Something to do

Do you feel there is any area of your life where the love of God is not pre-eminent? Why might this be and how might you change this?

Something to pray

Fill us, we pray, with your light and life
that we may show forth your wondrous glory.
Grant that your love may so fill our lives
that we may count
nothing too small to do for you,
nothing too much to give
and nothing too hard to bear.
St. Ignatius Loyola

Father God,

We remember the horrific events of September 11, 2001.

We don't begin to understand why so many lives were taken, why so many were left with pain and grief, scarred in mind, body and spirit.

We do not understand why there are extremists wanting to kill and maim, who continue to take innocent lives all around the world.

We do know that we can turn to you to find strength in times of hardship and despair, that you have not abandoned us, and that your great, all-encompassing love is with us forever. 

We give thanks for the members of the emergency services who risked their lives to help others, and the hundreds who died in the line of duty.

Even though our grief is still raw, we can always take comfort knowing that you are always there, that our loved ones no longer here are with you now, and that one day we too will be at your side.  

In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who died for us all,

Today’s contributor is the Rev Jeremy Allcock, Vicar of St Stephen’s, Westbourne Park, west London, and Area Dean of Paddington.

9/11 prayer by Andy Jackson, Digital Content Manager, Christian Aid.


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