Deut 6 – Love the Lord Your God

Two fab resources for you this week: As usual, your liturgy for next week’s lectionary readings can be found at the bottom of this post, but first, an interactive all-age talk based on Deut 6:4-9 and Jesus’ reference to this in Mark 12:30-31 and Matt 22:36-40 plus Luke 10:25-28.

PDFs and video included as well. I know. I spoil you!

It’s perfect for an all-age talk, Messy Church, collective worship, youth group, children’s church or good old family fun. Heck, you can even use it with adults if they’re not  too stuffy.

And, just in case anyone thinks that ‘the rest is commentary’ is being dismissive of the Bible, please understand that the phrase comes from a 1stC BCE rabbi called Hillel who, when challenged to recite the Torah while standing on one leg replied, “That which is hateful to you, do not unto another: This is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary — now, go study.” We need to study all the rest in order to fully understand how to love God and love our neighbour. As Jesus put it, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two.”

And, of course, links to other resources:

 I’m a free-lance writer and teacher, and I provide resources at The Reflectionary for free resources because I believe that this stuff is important. 
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But if you cannot afford that, don’t worry at all. Help yourself for free and be blessed.

The Greatest Commandment

All-age talk / Collective Worship / Messy Church

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

You will need:

  • 12 pieces of card/paper with these words in large letters. Attach a piece of sticky tape to each card and place them in order along a table edge or broom handle. (see link below for PDF)
    • Love
    • the Lord
    • your God
    • with all your
    • heart
    • and soul
    • and mind
    • and strength
    • and love
    • your neighbour
    • as
    • yourself
  • You will need 2 or 3 volunteers, one of whom will have sticky tape attached to them.
  • A large Bible (with talk inside)

You can stick the cards anywhere on the stickee, but the suggestions in the table below will have them in an easy reading order.

All-age talk

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Bible is a really big book. I mean, it’s like, huge. It’s shorter than the Harry Potter series, maybe Harry Potter minus the Prisoner of Askaban, but it’s still a big book.

You can’t imagine summarising the whole Bible in only twelve pieces of paper, can you? No, me neither. But Jesus managed it!

When someone asked Jesus which was the most important bit of the Bible, the one page he’d rescue if a Bible exploded and all the pages went everywhere, the part he’d have printed on a t-shirt, this is what Jesus chose:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.’ And he added “and love your neighbour as yourself. That’s it,” Jesus said. “The rest is commentary. If you forget everything else, remember this and you’ll do fine.”

So how do we remember this? Well, our passage today, (which is what Jesus was quoting from), has some helpful hints. Let’s have a look at them. It’s in Deuteronomy, chapter 6 [mumble Bible, nodding]

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children.

Oh. Ummn. [look up] “Impress them on your children,” it says. [look around for children]

I suppose I’ll need some children for this. I’ll need two people to be stickers and one to be a stickee.

By the way, grown-ups, you don’t get to think, “Oh, this is only for the children. I can take a nap or check my phone for this part of the service.” Oh no. You don’t get away that easily. That bit where it says, ‘impress them on your children’? That assumes that we’ve already impressed them on ourselves. Yes?

OK, so I’ll read out what it says in Deuteronomy, and you stick these in appropriate places, OK? [Talk about items as you stick them on, eg:]

With all your heart: What do you think that means? [ask cong]
Soul: I’m not sure where your soul is. We’ll just put that in the middle ‘cos it’s kind of all of you.

When we sit and when we walk: Of course, that includes all the times in between as well. It’s like when we say we’ve searched high and low for something, we mean the bits between as well (It’s a figure of speech called merism.)

When you lie down and when you get up: What do you think that means? Only at those two times?

Hands: everything we do. Forehead: everything we think about.

Doorframes and gates: hmmn, you don’t really have any doorframes or gates, do you? I guess we could just stick these on any spare bits.

Versecardstick to 
Love the Lord your God with all your heartheartchest
and with all your souland soul tummy
and with all your mind and mindtop of head
and with all your strength. and strength arm
Talk about them when you sit at homeyour neighbourbum
and when you walk along the road,your Godlegs
when you lie downand loveback
and when you get up.with all yourfeet
Tie them as symbols on your handsthe Lordhands
and bind them on your foreheads.Loveforehead
Write them on the doorframes of your housesasanywhere spare
and on your gates.yourselfanywhere spare

Brilliant, thank you. Let’s see if we can read what Jesus said was the most important part of the Bible.

[Spin child round to show verse] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength and love your neighbour as yourself.

“Everything else,” said Jesus, “rests on these.”

Click here for PDF of talk – Dt 6 4-9

Click here for verse printed out in large letters – Love the Lord your God

And here’s a video clip of this all age talk in action (from 33:40)

Liturgy for Proper 10 C

Ps 25, Col 1

Confession and Absolution

An antiphonal reading from Psalm 25

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust. Let me not be put to shame.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord,
and teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation.

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord,
and of your steadfast love, for they are from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions,
but according to your steadfast love remember me.

For the sake of your name, O Lord,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.


God has rescued us from the power of darkness
and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


Good and upright is the LORD,
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his path.

All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

Blessing and Dismissal

May you be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.
May you may lead lives worthy of the Lord.
May you bear fruit in every good work.
May you grow in the knowledge of God.
May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power.
May you share in the inheritance of the saints of light.

And may the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be upon you and those you love this day and always.

Go in the strength that God provides, to live in love and to serve his kingdom.
In the name of Christ. Amen.

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