The Promised Land: Taking the long view; scripture for Oct. 23

Deuteronomy 34:1-8
Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar.

The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.”

Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated. The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.

Matthew 22:34-46
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
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The passage from Deuteronomy will be the main focus of the sermon. The verses describe Moses’ last moments and death. He envisions the promised land he has labored for the last 40 years of his life to enter, and he dies on the brink of living into that promise.
Questions
Does it seem unfair that Moses is not allowed to enter the Promised Land?

In what ways does being a person of faith demand that we take the long view and work for a day we might not see ourselves?

Can we help one another find meaning in working for a day of justice and peace that may never be fully realized in our lifetimes?

How might we help one another take that long view?

The passage from the Christian Scriptures summarizes the core of Jesus’ message.
Questions
What does it mean to you to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself?

Does this commandment give you a vision for a better world?

What does it look like?

Do you ever glimpse it here and now?
_____________________

Jeffrey Sartain
Executive Minister

About PlymouthSpirit

Plymouth Congregational Church is a progressive faith community grounded in the Christian tradition. We are spiritual, loving, relevant and transforming.
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One Response to The Promised Land: Taking the long view; scripture for Oct. 23

  1. Marsha Hunter says:

    I believe that progressive people of all faiths must understand that we will never live to see more than incremental accomplishments. Progress, widening our moral circle to include strangers and foreigners and anyone considered the Other is simply too scary for people who are more comfortable living in some idealised (and unjust) past. More and more I firmly believe that violence, bullying, nastiness, and sheer meanness is the old paradigm. Those willing to still use those tactics have power. Finding a way to stand up to those forces will always be the progressive’s problem. Jesus, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and others who found a way are our role models, but each of us must find some flame inside that burns brightly enough to shed light on a better path.
    We live in Arizona now, surrounded by mean, nasty bullies who run state government. But all around are reasonable people pushing back. In Tucson there is a new Center for Civil Discourse. A group of business people from Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Tucson are meeting to find grassroots ways to overcome the extremism damaging our state. The Mormon Compact is a little-known alternative to racist policies enacted by many Mormons in our state legislature.
    Without Moses as our example, without Jesus as a beacon, without God as shelter, I could not endure the injustice pulling us backward into a dark past.
    Jeff, I will never forget your sermon after Paul Wellstone was killed. I think of it often. The world will always be a work in progress.

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