At the kind invitation of John Crosby and Brad Jackson, Kris and I were invited to Christ Presbyterian Church, Edina MN, for the weekend services along with some Q&A. The Minneapolis-St Paul area has so many fine churches, and surely Christ Presbyterian is a leading light for the area. We had a splendid time. It was so good to be with the leaders, John and Laura Crosby, Brad and Stacy, and Matt and Lauren Moberg.
John Crosby, senior pastor, and the teaching staff are doing a series called The Essential Teachings of Jesus — Words to Live By — and I got to teach what I consider to be the most important words Jesus gave to live by: The Jesus Creed. For those of you who are new to this blog, the Jesus Creed is my expression for the Great Commandments:
Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these (Mark 12:29-31).
So Saturday night, Sunday at 9:30 and at 11am, I taught on the Jesus Creed. A brief story: at dinner Saturday night a young pastor, Matt, asked me how many times I have taught on the Jesus Creed. Which led me to say that a couple years back, after about seven or eight consecutive speaking invitations on the Jesus Creed, I said to Kris, “I’m done talking about the Jesus Creed.” To which she said, “No you’re not, you just got invited to a friend’s church to speak about the Jesus Creed.” So I did… and it has been good that for about a year I’ve not been invited to speak on that topic, I got some distance from it and got re-charged about the Jesus Creed … so returning to that topic was once again fresh and exciting for me. I’m ready for more!
If Jesus grew up in a world in which the Shema was recited a number of times each day, then we can repeat it too… and we need it. We need to keep the obligation to love in front of us because we are prone to take others for granted. Daily recitation of the Jesus Creed reminds us over and over that no matter where we are or no matter which person we encounter — whoever it is — that person is our neighbor.
Christ Presbyterian is a missions-minded and grace-giving community of faith. I was struck by the man with tears in his eyes before a service who told me the great commandments had reformed his life; the parents who adopted a young Chinese child because God was speaking to them about grace; the words about young men and women at CPC who have found forgiveness and grace and a new life.
And I have to admit we were so surprised when a friend of our daughter came up to us after a service to say “This is our church.”
Did I mention that we got to have Walleyed Pike for dinner. (I don’t recall seeing it on a menu in the Chicago area.) The.best.fish.ever.