This morning’s words from Jesus (MT 22:34-46) are very familiar but I’m finding it more & more profitable to read slowly and reflect deeply to recognize new meanings. Here’s the part of the text I’m considering:
You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.
There are some changes in language depending on what translation of the Bible one uses (I’m missing “with all your strength” from my childhood), but the message has endured as a summary of the teachings of Jesus. The thing about it that called to me as a question this morning was that if we love God with everything in us – heart, mind and soul – what’s left of us with which to love our neighbor? If God is our every thought and impulse and deepest knowing, where’s the room for anyone else to enter us? The answer is mystery, of course. We trust that God is the ground in us out of which everything – thought, word and deed – arises and blossoms into awareness, care for and love of all others as well as our own fragile selves. God is, at the same time, the end of all our striving toward the fullness of love that we hope to know when we return to the heart of God in eternity. It is in fulfilling the second commandment that we move toward the “achievement” of the first because, as the Scriptures say, “How can you love God whom you do not see if you do not love your brother or sister (or yourself) whom you do see?”
Today, then, seems like a good day for filling up with God whom we encounter wherever we turn, in whomever we meet, with all that we are as gift.