(At one time in my blogging, I hardly ever referred to myself. L.L. Barkat encouraged me to begin to refer to myself and share from my life. I appreciated her input back at that time. And she is a most excellent writer and author.)
Yesterday I was faced with some issues through which I can retreat and harbor not the best attitude, or in which I can rise to take charge while struggling with my attitude, neither option good.
I determined to myself that this day especially I would be repeating what some of us call the Jesus Creed (from Scot McKnight’s book, entitled the same), interspersed here and there with “the Lord’s/our Father” prayer:
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
I found that this helped keep me centered, and indeed it was like a breath of fresh air for me, filling my life, my mind and heart, even into the evening. Later I found out that my wife, Deb, had prayed for me as well, so that this was surely in answer to that. I also find that this practice of repeating the “Jesus Creed,” out loud, or in my mind has been helpful in keeping me centered on what really is important: the aim of loving God with all our being and doing, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
In place of my own all too easily self-centered thoughts came a love from God to be returned to God and given to others. And that love is an overcoming love. Displacing the sin which can all too easily entangle us.
Although I’ve found this practice helpful most every day, or at least many days, yesterday was kind of revelatory to me, as I found out that this love from God through Jesus by the Spirit is what helps us love God in return as well as loving others. Something I knew in my head and somewhat in my experience, but became especially palpable and real yesterday.
I know today and days to come may seem more humdrum. And yet I’ll continue to repeat the Jesus Creed. Along with the our Father prayer. So that I’ll be reminded of what is front and center in following Jesus, convicted of whatever is wrong and sinful in my thoughts and attitude, and helped by grace to something much better, with others in and through Jesus for the world.