"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first law. The second law is this: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. No other law is greater than these." Mark 12:30-31
This morning, when we came down stairs, we faced a great tragedy. Our coffee maker, which we set up and program every evening to come on every morning, had come on but made a huge mess. Something had gone haywire and there were coffee grounds everywhere. Grounds in the coffee, on the counter, throughout the workings of the machine. Worse even, the coffee was undrinkable. For some, this might seem like a small matter but for us, it felt like a matter of life and death. Mark had to meet a train and I had to deliver him there and neither of us was functioning well enough to face the day. I sprang into action, brought the car around and immediately drove us to Dunkin Doughnuts. I was never more grateful for the people behind the counter there. I was never more in love with any service personnel, despite their lack of warmth and welcome. Our morning was saved. How could I not be grateful?
Jesus was being tested by the best and the brightest. They had been trying to trap him into breaking the law or misstating the truth about God. Jesus shared with them the greatest laws - love of God and love of neighbor. Love as the greatest of laws. Love as the means to being in relationship with God. Love as that which everything else in the universe hangs on.
My love of coffee, and my need for a cup every morning could obscure for me the love of God and neighbor. It can also open a window for me into the critical nature of my relationship with God and others. Just as I cannot function without coffee, I cannot function without God and my neighbors. No matter how isolated, frustrated or disconnected I feel, my love of God and neighbor is the ground of my being. That love, given by God, is the source of all the other strength and resiliency in my life. Today I want to love God and my neighbor with the determination of an addict, with the conviction of a zealot and with the heart of a child. And in the same way I want to love my neighbors. May we all have the courage this day to love God and others with a passionate and committed determination. As if our lives depended on it.