The two "Great Commandments" in the heat of life. 

(The Exhortation from Pastor Phillips on May 29, 2016)

I have a habit of reading more than one book at a time.  Sometimes it takes me a while to get through a book because, frankly, I am just trying to get through it.  Other times it takes me a while because I don’t want it to end; my thoughts are too occupied with it, I am being changed and challenged by it. 

One such book was Wendell Berry’s book Jayber Crow, the story of a small town barber reflecting over his life, and I want to quote one of the many touching portions of the book:

“I have got to the age now where I can see how short a time we have to be here.  And when I think about it, it can seem strange beyond telling that this particular bunch of us should be here on this little patch of ground in this little patch of time, and I can think of the other times and places I might have lived, the other kinds of man I might have been.  But there is something else.  There are moments when the heart is generous, and then it knows that for better or worse our lives are woven together here, one with one another and with the place and all the living things.”

Have you ever wondered how in the world you ended up here, in this place, this time, with these people?  As you look back over time, it becomes clear that life is made up of small moments that can bring about big changes, with one thing leading to and causing another.  The comfort in all of that, is that our lives are not in the hands of random chance, but we are held securely in the providence of God. 

God has commanded us to love Him with our heart, soul, mind, and strength – and He knows the circumstances in which you have to do it.  He knows your struggles and your details, yet He still has commanded, “Love Me.”  God has commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves and, here’s the kicker: He gave you those neighbors.  Even that one?  Yes.  Even that one.  Let us confess our sins…