Thursday, August 20, 2009

On these two hang everything

‘The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord 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 mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’Mark 12:29-31

In these hot, sultry days of August, I find it can be too easy to complain. And I have to remember all the things I love about summer and am able to do. I love going in the ocean and having cook outs. I love that everyone seems more relaxed and less edgy. Most folks make an effort to see family and take time for rest and fun. And, there are no crossing guards in the summer. Now, please don't get me wrong, I think crossing guards are essential. They protect our kids and that is a number one priority. It's just that in every community I have lived in, they have a tendency to take control of the streets, snarling traffic by imposing their authority completely and being random about their crossing of the kids. In Delaware, they had a little devise to control all the lights in their intersection and if they didn't recognize you as a friend they would turn the light red, even when they were no kids anywhere nearby. I have always found it very frustrating when someone with a small amount of authority tries to take over the whole world. Sometimes things and rules can get completely out of perspective.

Jesus is conversing with the crossing guards of the religious authority and he has them focus on what is most important - love God and love your neighbor as your self. These come first and are the structure for all the other rules and guidelines that follow. We can keep all the rules, controlling our intersections and small worlds perfectly, but if we have no love for God and our neighbors, our efforts are in vain.

Today, I want to remember to keep these two commandments in mind as I approach all tasks. Is what I am doing, loving God and my neighbor? God's love for us is so bountiful and broad that the love and care of others is tied up in our love for God. We must do both to be adequately loving the one who made us and gives us all good gifts. May this be the day when we put petty rules aside and make love of God and neighbor rule the day.

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