Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | October 27, 2017

Lectionary Reflection: The Twenty First Sunday After Pentecost

Blog|Carol James

Leviticus 19:1-3, 15-18; Psalm 1, 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8, Matthew 22:34-46

In our readings today, God’s call to us seems so simple: love each other and love God. It’s core to who we are that we connect with one another to share and celebrate things that are bigger than each of us individually. Yet we seem to live in a world that seeks to define “neighbor” in smaller and smaller increments, and where there are some who use God’s name to call for division and diminishment of others. How do we help turn the tide towards connection and growth?

In the reading from Leviticus, the Lord calls the people of Israel to look into the roots of injustice, past personal gain and personal vengeance. Paul describes a hard road to proclaiming the good news to communities in conflict. Walking the path of love requires both looking in and looking out. It’s not a state of mind, but a practice that must be strengthened, act by act, every day.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, giving a midday homily here many years ago, asked us to try blessing each person we passed on the street for a day. “Not aloud, or else they’ll think you’re crazy!” he explained, but in lifting his hands to show us how we could lift others to God in our hearts, we looked up. And up. And up.

Carol James has been part of the cathedral community for over a decade. She has served as a co-mentor in the Education for Ministry program. She currently leads the evening prayer providers in the Jail Ministry and is a cathedral staff member.

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