One God, only one

23rd Sunday after Pentecost (November 4, 2012)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Deut. 6:1-9; Ps. 119:1-8; Heb. 9:11-14; Mark 12:28-34

We enjoyed a quiet Eid holiday, highlighted with a wonderful lunch at the home of Dr. Kamal Abu Jaber and his wife Loretta, Oct. 28.  We have learned much about Jordanian hospitality from the Abu Jaber family, who have a gift for making guests feel welcomed.

At the Abu Jaber farm: Agnes Chen, Cindy, Dr. Abu Jaber, Daryl, Loretta, Kristy Guerten and Audra Brady (left to right)

On Nov. 1, we flew to United States to begin two-month home leave. In addition to quality family time, we are hoping this will be a time of discernment as we consider next steps when our MCC terms ends in August 2013.

On Nov. 3, we attended the wedding for Cindy’s brother Doug Lehman, who married Bonnie Steffee in a beautiful ceremony in Dalton, Ohio.

Doug and Bonnie at the wedding ceremony, Nov. 3

In the Middle East this week:

  • A new pope was chosen to lead the Egyptian Coptic Church, Nov. 4.
  • According to Jordanian officials, some 210,000 Syrians are now living in Jordan.  Between 30,000 and 40,000 Syrian live in the restive Zaatari Refugee Camp. The remaining Syrians live with Jordanian families or rent flats, placing growing stress on Jordan’s infrastructure.
  • Jordanian officials are expressing growing concerns about fighters from Jordan joining the battles in Syria.  There are also reports of Palestinian refugees inside Syria joining both the pro-Assad and pro-rebel groups, leading to fears of a widening conflict.

Lyndsay and Jeremy Byler at the wedding reception in Ohio

The Common Lectionary readings this week remind us that our beliefs must shape our actions.

Both the Old Testament and Gospel readings include this affirmation of faith: “The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.” (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29). From this affirmation, the Lectionary readings call us to the following actions:

  • “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” (Deut. 6:5; Mark 12:30)
  • “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)
  • We are to seek God with our whole heart and walk in God’s ways (Ps. 119:2-3)
  • We are to worship the living God (Heb. 9:14).

There is one God, only one.  God’s desire is that all of our life choices will be shaped by this simple and singular affirmation.  If humans would act accordingly, the world would be a different and better place.

Amid Hurricane Sandy, our granddaughter Sydney celebrated her first birthday, Oct. 29 (photo by Holden Byler)

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