Jan 14, 2024
The puzzle is why so many people live so badly. There is little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture. We have celebrities but not saints.
— Eugene Peterson
One of the defining characteristics of American culture is individualism.
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
The declaration of autonomy has issues not in a race of free, masterly people, but rathe run a race that can best be described by its poets and dramatists only as bored, vexed, frantic, embittered, and sniffling.
— Eugene Peterson
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
THE SHEMA: HEAR O ISRAEL THE LORD OUR GOD THE LORD ONE
A). HEAR O ISRAEL THE LORD OUR GOD THE LORD IS ONE
B). HEAR O ISRAEL THE LORD IS OUR GOD THE LORD ALONE
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
1 John 4: 20-21
A fulfilling life is found in loving God and loving others in the way of Jesus.
PRAYER: Create some space this week to prayerfully reflect on your love for God and others:
PRACTICE: Identify a neighbor (anyone near to you) and show them concrete love this week.