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Greatest Commandment, The

Description

Here are worship resources inspired by Jesus’ teaching to “love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind . . . and your neighbor as yourself.”

Scripture

Deuteronomy 6:5
Matthew 22:34-40
Mark 12:28-34
Luke 10:25-28

Prayers

Opening Litany

Once upon a time
a wise man offered a challenge;
"What is the greatest commandment?"
The calendars on our desks share a vision of greatness;
bills to pay, phone calls to return, appointments to keep.
Love the Lord your God.

The cameras of our memories share what commands us;
children to bathe and partners to help
parents calling and grandchildren hopeful.
Love the Lord your God
with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your mind.

Still the Spirit lures us to new priorities;
open spaces to experience wonder,
strangers becoming friends,
devotion to that which transcends.
Love the Lord your God
with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
Love your neighbor as yourself.

~ written by Katherine Hawker (2002) and posted on Liturgies Outside.
http://liturgyoutside.net/

Prayer of Confession

The world teaches us many ways to love,
but all are based on selfish desires and needs.
God teaches us how to love: completely, uniquely, unconditionally.
Let us confess our difficulty in loving as God teaches us,
as we pray, saying,

We are hesitant to confess, Holy God,
how hard it is to love as you wish.
It is easy to love you with all that we are,
except when you ask us to love our neighbor with all that we have.
We find it hard to love our neighbor,
when it is linked to the way we love ourselves.
And it is difficult to love anyone—even You—
more than we love ourselves.

Forgive us, Love Eternal.
As you took a risk in creating us,
help us to take risks to love others compassionately,
to love ourselves genuinely,
and to love you as completely as you love us
in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

(Time of silence)

In God's Kingdom, all are loved for who they are,
not what they do;
In God's Kingdom, all are forgiven for what they do,
and don't;
in God's Kingdom, all are welcomed and fed
by God's grace and hope.
Forgiven, loved, sent forth—
we are not far from God's Kingdom!
Thanks be to God.

Amen.

~ written by Thom Shuman, and posted on Lectionary Liturgies.
http://lectionaryliturgies.blogspot.ca/

Pastoral Prayer

Patient God, we find it so easy to give lip service and “check” service to the commandment to love. We can say we know of your love and that we respond in kind, but we far too often do not respond in loving ways toward others. We write checks to support ministries of compassion without ever truly feeling the deep compassion that service demands.

Dig deeper into our souls, O God. Expose the vain selfishness and the fear that seem to block true discipleship. Engage us in ministries of justice in which the kind of love that you call us to have is required, not just in our spoken word or in our offerings of monies, but in our very passionate nature. Free us and inspire us to love all persons, those whom we would deem unlovable, and those whom we find it easy to love. Help us love ourselves, respecting ourselves in gratitude for the gifts you have given to us; then move us to use these gifts in service to you.

We ask these things in the name of Jesus the Christ.

Amen.

~ written by Nancy C. Townley, and posted on the Worship Connection page of the Ministry Matters website.
http://www.ministrymatters.com/

Spoken Resources

Commission & Benediction

Hear this: the Lord our God is the one and only Lord.
Therefore go out into the world
and love the Lord your God
with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,
and love others as you love yourself.

And may God give you justice and freedom;
May Christ Jesus set you free for love;
and may the Holy Spirit go where you go
and protect you on your way.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ.

Amen.

~ Copyright © 2000 Nathan Nettleton
http://www.laughingbird.net/

Songs

Traditional Hymn: Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

Worship Together #402

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
wean it from sin, through all its pulses move;
stoop to my weakness, mighty as thou are,
and make me love You as I ought to love.

Did You not bid us love You, God and King,
love You with all our heart and strength and mind?
I see the cross—there teach my heart to cling,
Oh, let me seek You, and, oh, let me find!

Teach me to feel that You are always nigh;
teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
teach me the patience of unceasing prayer.

Teach me to love You as Your angels love,
one holy passion filling all my rame:
the fullness of the heaven-descended Dove;
my heart an altar, and Your love the flame.

~ George Crosly, alt.

Contemporary Hymn: Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service

Lord, whose love through humble service
Bore the weight of human need,
Who upon the cross, forsaken,
Offered mercy's perfect deed,
We, Your servants, bring the worship
Not of voice alone, but heart,
Consecrating to Your purpose
Every gift that You impart.

Still Your children wander homeless;
Still the hungry cry for bread;
Still the captives long for freedom;
Still in grief we mourn our dead.
As, O Lord, Your deep compassion
Healed the sick and freed the soul,
Use the love Your Spirit kindles
Still to save and make us whole.

As we worship, grant us vision,
Till Your love's revealing light,
In its height and depth and greatness,
Dawns upon our quickened sight,
Making known the needs and burdens
Your compassion bids us bear,
Stirring us to tireless striving,
Your abundant life to share.

Called from worship to Your service,
Forth in Your dear name we go,
To the child, the youth, the aged,
Love in living deeds to show;
Hope and health, goodwill and comfort,
Counsel, aid, and peace we give,
That Your servants, Lord, in freedom
May Your mercy know and live.

~ Albert F. Bayly, Seven Social Welfare Hymns, 1961. Words copyright © Oxford University Press.

Tune suggestions:
HYFRYDOL (“Jesus, what a friend for sinners”)

Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=So9Va9L8N8E

Contemporary Song: Love the Lord

Love the Lord Your God
With all your heart with all your soul
With all your mind and with all your strength
Love the Lord Your God
With all your heart with all your soul
With all your mind and with all your strength

With all your heart with all your soul
With all your mind with all your strength
Love the Lord your God
With all your heart with all your soul
With all your mind and with all your strength

I will serve the Lord
With all my heart with all my soul
With all my mind and with all my strength
I will serve the Lord
With all my heart with all my soul
With all my mind and with all my strength

~ Lincoln Brewster. Copyright © 2005 Integrity’s Praise! Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing). CCLI Song #4572938. If you use this song in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

Listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8mr839-TVs

Contemporary Song: Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love

Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love,
show us how to serve the neighbors we have from you.

Kneels at the feet of his friends,
silently washes their feet,
Master who acts as a slave to them.
Refrain

Neighbors are wealthy and poor,
varied in color and race,
neighbors are near us and far away.
Refrain

These are the ones we should serve,
these are the ones we should love,
all these are neighbors to us and you.
Refrain

Loving puts us on our knees,
silently washing their feet,
this is the way we should live with you.
Refrain

~ Tom Colvin. Copyright © 1969, 1997 Hope Publishing Company. If you use this song in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

Images

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Notes

This worship resource was created/compiled by Christine Longhurst. You are welcome to use it free of charge, and where appropriate, please note the source. If you are printing any of the resources for distribution, please print the source as well. The content of the worship resource does not necessarily represent the views of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, which oversees the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. For more worship resources by Christine Longhurst, see http://www.re-worship.blogspot.ca or http://www.faithmatters.ca.

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