Today wasn't going to be about love, but I have had the verse from Mark I referred to yesterday rolling around in my head (it sounds like a marble in a can of spray paint if you were wondering)! It has been kind of perplexing as I reflect on the values I pursue and ideals I hold as virtuous because, well, it is so simple ... but I keep trying to complicate it!
I can imagine the scene that leads to Jesus answer in the bible as it is one I would most likely participate in ... A discussion about the finer points of religion is taking place and it is getting more and more animated as words are used to paint pictures of what the kingdom of God should be like. People are up on their high horses (I would have been one of them) extolling a prescription for a life that honours God. Nothing else will met that. Jesus is in the middle of it answering questions and provoking a life of action and not simply words or ritual.
Then some smarty pants Christian comes out with this (which is verse 28 from The Message): One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: "Which is most important of all the commandments?"Mark 12:28
Now if I was there I would probably have been trying to answer this for Jesus! I would have been suggesting all sorts of different answers based on theory, religion, rote, dogma, all those good
things that the church has perfected
! But Jesus answer, as always, has a bit of a twist:
Jesus said, "The first in importance is, 'Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' There is no other commandment that ranks with these." Mark 12:29-31
What is the twist? To me the twist is that Jesus doesn't denegrate religion or the tradition that goes with it. He doesn't toss out everything that church had become and suggest people reject it. If anything he embraces it (love the Lord God with ALL your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy
). While not the exclusive domain of church, these comprise many churches.
Then Jesus continues and suggests an action from us ... He says to love others as well as you love yourself
. Action must follow (or am I delusional)? So the question I have today about love is how does my love of God (which should be with ALL my passion and prayer and intelligence and energy
work itself out in action towards others?