Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent - December 6

Psalm 26, 28, 36, 39

Amos 7:10-17

Revelation 1:9-16

Matthew 22:34-46

While I am one who is a whole Bible believer and rarely agree with those who pick and choose verses to prove their preconceived notions, today’s Gospel passage is one that stands alone in summary of everything else the Bible has to say. Jesus narrows the Ten Commandments, the law, and all of his teachings down to two directives: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

As Emeril would say, “Bam!”

Unfortunately, it seems that Jesus’s simplest commands seem to be the hardest to keep. The first part is much simpler, isn’t it? I always love the Lord. Except when I do not get what I want. Except when I am faced with disappointment and doubt His wisdom for me. Except when I am alone and feel abandoned by Him. Yes, I love the Lord my God. Except when….

As far as my neighbor goes…how many houses down is that? Does it mean my city? My state? Maybe it is all the people I like. My neighbor is….

Jesus does not give us limits because His love is infinite.  He does not exclude certain labels. His commands are all inclusive. He expects me to love the Lord my God through all those exceptions and to keep my eyes on Him no matter what happens around me. Likewise my neighbor has universal boundaries: it is not for me to label, decide, or in any way limit my love.

His love can flow through me so that my human limitations are overcome. Let us all open our hearts to our neighbors and close our eyes to the labels that close us to so many who could be our neighbors or even more – our friends.

Lord open my heart and close my eyes that I may follow your greatest commands.

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