The other day as part of a meditation, I simply closed my eyes and began reciting. “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God. The Lord is one. Love the Lord your God.” Have you ever done this, repeated a phrase over and over again in the quiet of your heart? Have you ever allowed your mind to be carried by the influence of healing words? Speaking a phrase in this way, often makes clear the detail and depth of a phrase, exposing new understanding and delight.
For example, using the phrase above leads to many questions. What does it mean that God is asking us to hear these words? What does it mean for us to listen? What does it mean that God is speaking to God’s people? Are we God’s people? What makes us God’s people? What does it mean that God is identifying God’s self as our Lord? What does it mean that the Lord is one? What does it mean that God is saying Love me? How do I do this?
Yes the questions can become abundant, but as I settle into the meditation, focusing on the phrase, I acutely aware that what is presented in these words, is a sweet invitation. God is inviting us to know God’s self.
Now you might be thinking, that you know who God is.* Maybe you can recite lots of verses from scripture concerning God’s characteristics. This kind of knowledge is good, but I encourage, do to stop there, for what we are being invited into is the intimacy of who God is. We can study and learn facts, but to know on an intimate level suggests that we must spend time in intimate consideration, thinking beyond the ability of our mind with facts,but also giving freedom to listen with our heart, our soul, and strength.
Yes, this is an invitation to invest ourselves into a relationship, and what makes it sweet, is that God is asking us to love with all of ourselves. “Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all you soul, with all you mind, with all you strength.” God is asking us to love our Lord, our creator, our master, with everything we have. EVERYTHING. Everything including our broken heart, our tired soul, our confused mind, and our weakned strength. EVERYTHING. Give it all to who God is leaving nothing behind.
What a beautiful thing to be able to do. Give God everything about yourself.
Let us pray… “Dear Lord thank you for the sweet invitation. Thank you for making space for us to bring our whole selves to you. Not just the things we think we should, but also the darkest parts of ourselves, our brittle beings that we would rather hide. Thank you for seeing all of us, holding our vulnerability gently, and loving us all the more for it. Amen.”
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, with all your strength. The second is this. Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:29-31
*In Hebrew the word to know, or “ginosko,” is something that is beyond mere facts. To ginosko, to know, is an intimate knowledge indicating an “at oneness” with each other. Like the kind of knowing you have with a partner, but more.