Daily Reflection
March 12th, 1999
Shirley A. Scritchfield
Institutional Research & Assessment
Hosea 14:2-10
Mark 12:28-34

 “Which commandment is the first of all?”

“The first is,…‘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.”

That’s it!  Those are the keys….Love God and love our neighbor as ourselves.  Simple instructions.  We ought to be able to follow those, don’t you think?  Well, maybe…
What does it mean to love God to the fullest extent—as described by Jesus?  When and how do we enact that love?  Are we fulfilling the commandment to love God when we open our hearts to that still small voice and follow where it calls us?  Do we enact it when we follow church leaders when they define appropriate behavior or belief?  What if those two things conflict?  Then, when are we loving God as Jesus asked?
Well,  hmmm…this isn’t as simple as it looked.  Let me try again with the next part.

We love God by loving our neighbors.  We care about and for a lot of people in our lives—friends, family, colleagues, the members of our community.  We give used clothing to the poor, contribute to worthy causes, and give food to the pantry.   There’s more to it?  Wait, you must be kidding…there are just some categories of people we CANNOT love.  You know, they are the ones who really can’t be…never in a million years would we consider them to be…our neighbors.  You know…the ones who are just too different…too unlovable, the ones whose attitudes and behavior send our blood pressure through the roof, the ones without whom the world would be a better place.  Surely, we’re not expected to love them!

Well, what about the last part…

We love God when we love ourselves...what does that mean love ourselves? Isn’t that something we should avoid…but then look at the words.  Okay,…but there are so many things to get done, people to care for, reports to write, errands to run, deadlines that just won’t wait.  We know we could use some quiet time…to think and pray.  And, we don’t get enough exercise.  Playtime doesn’t exist.  But, where would we put them in our schedules?  Hmmm…do we love ourselves?  I wonder…

Such simple commandments…and yet…so very difficult.  Thank goodness Grace is everywhere and God’s love for us boundless.  Then, maybe…just maybe, we can learn how to live into these key commandments…and become selves centered in God.  May it be so.

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