Fourth Sunday before Advent - Reflection by Canon Leslie


Today’s Gospel reading concerns Jesus’ celebrated teaching about the law of love. Mark’s Gospel sets the context as Jesus’ final days in Jerusalem before the crucifixion. During those days Jesus confronts three potentially controversial questions, a political question concerning the poll-tax, a theological question concerning the resurrection, and a legal question concerning the greatest commandment.  Jesus responds to the third of these issues by emphasising the law of love.  The first command is to ‘love the Lord your God’.  The second command is to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. 
For those of you who wanted to do some thinking and preparation for today’s service during the preceding week, I invited reflection on the image of sincere smiles. In today’s picture from their book, Exploring Buddhism, Rees and Sara celebrate their friendship with James and Hana with faces displaying sincere smiles.  
Lord God, 
we are created in your image. 
Give us grace 
to love you with all our heart, 
to praise you with all our soul, 
to trust you with all our mind, 
and to serve you with all our strength, 
that we may grow in your likeness, 
and love others in your name; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Next Sunday begins a new phase of the Church’s year. It is the Third Sunday before Advent. The Gospel reading reminds us of our call into discipleship, as we hear again how those first four disciples were called away from their trade as fishermen. The image to help us prepare for next Sunday’s theme is fishing nets. You can find out more about that theme here We would really appreciate you letting us know how you are using these materials.  
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