Morning Service 17th January 2021 - Rev. Rod Hill's Reflection

by Alderley Edge Methodist Church  |  Posted at 10:54am on 20th January 2021

Reflection  Mark 12. 31 The second [commandment] is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself

 

I wonder if you read the books by Alexander McCall Smith about the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, set in Gaborone, Botswana.  They’re quite light reading and amusing, but really evocative of that part of Central Southern Africa – an area that I know quite well.  The books feature the proprietor of this agency, Mma Ramotswe and her associates.  Here is how the book that I am currently reading, The Colours of all the Cattle, begins.

I wonder who there is that looks on you with pride, in the way in which Mr J L B Matekoni looks upon Mma Ramotswe.  Or, perhaps more significantly, who do you look on in that kind of way?  It might be your spouse, or other family member, but it may be someone quite outside of your family.  Love your neighbour ‘as you love yourself’, says our text, but all too often we miss out the last phrase – ‘as you love yourself’.  It’s not only that we are told to love others, but that we should love ourselves too.

 

We tend to focus on loving our neighbour and that’s important – and the parable of the Good Samaritan indicates the ‘our neighbour’ is to be widely understood.  I’m not underestimated the pastoral care of others, or the need for concern about people who are affected by issues of social justice,

 

But

Love your neighbour ‘as you love yourself’

 

Look in the mirror, or at the image on screen and see someone who is made in the image of God.  Its’s fantastic isn’t it?  You are made in the image of God.  Look how many wonderful little images of God there are in our church, in god’s world.  Each and every one made in the image of God and loved by God.

 

Loving yourself is important – note, as with love of neighbour, its loving not liking.

 

Love yourself

 

 

 

What does that mean in practice?

  1. Your physical health

 

  • Take care of your body – it is, after all, the Temple of the Holy Spirit

It’s especially important now, that the vaccine is being rolled out (you may already have had it – but if not don’t delay when you get the chance, please) don’t compromise your own health for the sake of ‘The Church’ or for any other reason.

  • Eat well – Marcus Rashford and school melas campaign highlights the importance for all of eating well.

 

  • Get enough rest and relaxation.

 

  1. Take care of your mental health – this means different things for different people,
  • but relationships are key, family and friends. 
  • Thank God for technology but let’s not forget those who can’t use it.
  • Don’t do too much.   I know it’s difficult, many of us are activists.  But we need to step back from time to time.  Most of you, I think, will be aware that I take a weekend off most weeks – Friday and Saturday, but some of our volunteers don’t.  they never take a break.  Love yourself as you love your neighbour!

 

  1. Take care of your spiritual health
  • last week, we had a focus on regular prayer, and we will return to different aspects of our spiritual health over the coming weeks. 
  • Read the Bible and reflect on it,
  • look out for signs of God at work and see them in yourself as well as in others.  Although, we have to recognise that we are often not good at seeing our own gifts but do see the gifts in others – tell them, then, what gifts you see in order to build them up in faith and love.

Relationships within the body of Christ are important here. 

We need to Speak and act with love and grace – and that applies here, online, in person in worship and in the conversation afterwards and in our business meetings.  Let’s speak with love and grace.  After our worship today we will have the first of our conversations about moving forward with God – let love and grace and forward-looking attitude permeate all of that and all of our discussions in a way that hasn’t always been the case in the past

“See how these Christians love one another” ought to be our motto too – we should exude love from every pore of our being.

Love yourself as you love your neighbour might perhaps be appropriate for some in our churches.  Sometimes we are so focussed on loving our neighbour and doing everything that we can that we forget to love ourselves!

 

God calls us to look in the mirror and to love ourselves, so that we can then love others as God first loves us.