The Friday in the 3rd Week of Lent
March 17, 2023
‘Which commandment is the first of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘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.’
I had a discussion with *Jim Walter about this commandment a long time ago. He said it’s not possible to command love. We can’t be commanded to love, not our neighbor or even God. We either love or we don’t.
Just for fun, I Googled, “falling in love” and got multiple articles on falling in love. Psychology Today says we don’t really fall in love. Love is discovered when we begin to build a relationship with the person we’re attracted to. Loving is messy and it’s not the same as liking someone. We may not like everyone we encounter, but Jeus calls us to love everyone. We are not called to look past the bad , but to seek and serve Christ in them. We promise this in our Baptismal covenant.
That’s what we really need to do with our relationship with God. We need to see the good in everyone. See all of the sides of God working in and through everyone. When we choose to love and to build a relationship with God, and all of his creation, it takes every minute, every hour, every day, of being in that relationship of love. That’s the “all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength” part. It’s much more difficult than just accepting a commandment to love. You have to put your mind and heart into it, because God is in it, because, after all, God is love.
*The Rev. Dr. James I. Walter