Hear, O Isreael: The Lord is our God. the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this. Love you neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. (Jesus the Christ, year 31-32 AD, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:29, Luke 10:27.)
When we think of loving God and loving others, do you ever consider that you were created just for that purpose?
Let’s see if we can connect some thoughts. 1 John 14 claims God is love. Genesis chapter 1 claims mankind is created in the image of God. So, if God is love and we are made in God’s image, is it safe to say that we are made to love? I believe so. In fact I know so, or why would Jesus be so adamant that loving God and loving neighbor is so important?
Now, let’s be truthful with one another. A Lot of times, this central piece of our identity gets confused with the myriad of other concepts and ideas and quietly slip away from conscious focus . In the rush of life, identifying ourselves as created to love ceases to be a primary focus for our everyday existence. Maybe this is why God had Moses offer theses instructions to Israel.
“Hear O Israel: The Lord is our God. The Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words in your heart, Reciting them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your houses and your gates. (Deuteronomy 6)
God is reminding God’s people that they were in fact created to love. Created to love their creator, and created to teach that love to others, to be love for their neighbor, talking about love with others and teaching love their children. I’d say not such a bad request from God to God’s people, asking them to live, talk, and teach the love of God to and for one another.
It also put us, those people living in the year 2019, into a position of being invited to participate in that loving relationship also. When Jesus reminds us of the two greatest commandment he isn’t just stating a fact, or giving us a piece of knowledge for our brain. No, he is reminding us there is a deep tangible reality that comes with being a created being. He is reminding us that indeed we are created to love, and he is reminding us that God’s love is so deep that he invites us to mediate on that love daily, teaching it to our children and talking about it with our neighbor. Way back when, God was asking God’s people to share the good news of God’s love with others. Maybe were not so different from our Jewish ancestors after all.
Let us pray… Dear Lord, thank you so much for giving us space to love you and our neighbor each day. Thank you for making room for us to love our neighbor. Help us remember to focus on loving you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength so that we become the best teachers to our children and our neighbors. Amen.