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The One

October 29, 2018

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 strength.” (Deuteronomy 6: 4-5; Mark 12: 29-30).

The One is an expensive one-person two-pound backpack tent that promises to shelter a person from the elements, keeping “you snug as a bug in a weatherproof ripstop rug.”  I don’t know about you, but I often find myself in need of a safe and secure shelter—a place to hunker down during the life’s storms.

The One that I depend on to provide refuge and shelter is the one true God.  Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6: 4-5, when he told the people gathered to hear him that the most important commandment is “Here, 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” (Mark 12: 29-30).[1]

The belief in one God was a novel concept when Moses wrote Deuteronomy over 3,000 years ago. At that time and place people often worshipped multiple gods.  God wanted to prepare his people for their entry into a land where many gods were worshipped, which is why he told Moses to instruct the people that they were to worship the only one true God—The One—with all of their heart, soul, and mind.

The psalmist extols the virtues of staying true to The One:  “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.  Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart” (Psalm 119: 1-2).

The book of Hebrews was written to the Jewish Christians who were struggling with the new faith. Some were slipping back to the old ways.   They needed to be reminded of the one true God, and of Christ’s authenticity and superiority.  We, like the fledgling Christians, slip back into godless routines from time to time. We worship at the altar of celebrities, sports, work, or unhealthy habits.  We get so wound up in our lives that we forget to pray.  We forget to praise and give thanks to the One.  Like the early Christians we need to be reminded of the basics: “Christ came with this new agreement so that all who are invited may come and have forever all the wonders God has promised them. For Christ died to rescue them from the penalty of the sinsthey had committed while still under that old system” (Hebrews 9:15, The Living Bible). The one true God sent his Son to die for us and to rescue us from ourselves.

It is through God’s grace by sending his Son to die for our sins that removes us from the penalty for our mistakes.  We cannot save ourselves.  God loves us so much that he sent his Son rescue us. Being loved by God and saved to be with him forever is a free gift from God; we need only receive it.  Seek shelter and refuge in the One—the one God who loves and watches over you.  Open your heart to the One who will protect, shelter, and shepherd you through life’s challenges, disappointments, difficulties, and heartbreaks.

“Common Collect: Lord Almighty, Come and scatter the darkness of our hearts by the light of your presence; that we may know you, the Light of the world, and the one true God, blessed this night and for evermore.  Amen”.  A Late Evening Office, Book of Common Prayer, The Church of Ireland.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1]The Scripture texts for next Sunday are Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Psalm 119:1-8; Hebrews 9: 11-22; Mark 12: 28-37.

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