THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
This week the focus is on the Great Commandment. We know Jesus’ words so well: “‘And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” But, sadly, in spite of the clarity of these words, in spite of Jesus’ claim that the whole of the Scripture is summarized in these words, we still struggle to make this commandment the focus of our faith and life.
The Great Commandment is not two commandments, of course. The original text suggests that the “second” is “like” the first – that is, it is the same as the first. This means that this is really one commandment in two parts. Loving God and loving neighbour are inextricably linked. The love that Jesus speaks about here is not an emotion. It is not just saying the words “I love you.” For Jesus, loving another person means to honour her or his value as a human being and as valuable to God, and to express this in actions of service, respect and kindness. Love is always expressed in action. Of course, this is much harder than following the law. Legalism is attractive because it’s easy – you just tick each law off on a list. You’ve either done it or you haven’t. But love requires true engagement with the other person. It requires sensitivity, curiosity, interest, compassion, and a willingness to extend ourselves for the other person. Love is messy and unpredictable and costly.
But love is also the only place where life can be found. This is what we will be exploring this week.
To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click here.