Showing posts with label Shema. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shema. Show all posts

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Loving like Jesus

Every time I’ve read John 13:34, I’ve been puzzled by Jesus’ words: “I’m giving you a new commandment: love one another.” Since I’ve heard that longer than I can remember, this word of exhortation did not seem new to me. But when I looked up the phrase “love one another” on Bible Gateway, I found no earlier reference.

In the Hebrew Bible, however, God says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might,” Deuteronomy 6:4-5. Bringing that love down to earth, Leviticus 19:18 says, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

In Matthew 26:37-40, Jesus put those two commands together by saying, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment, and the second is like unto it, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

A problem arises, though, when people have trouble loving themselves, much less their neighbors! Nevertheless, God still wants this, and so the New Testament clarifies the concept of the true love to be found in Christ Jesus:

• He spoke healing words.
• He called people by name.
• He showed God’s love.
• He taught the kind attitudes we’re to have.
• He gave His life.
• He brought us life eternal.
• He called us to be brothers and sisters
• He empowered us to be children of God.
• He continues to pray for us now.

In the hours before His death, Jesus told His disciples: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I’ve loved you, so you also must love one another,” John 13:34.

Hopefully, we’ll love and appreciate ourselves and our neighbors. Regardless, we must love one another as conduits of Jesus Christ, Whose love flows in and through us. We can't do this by ourselves, but we can agree to it. We can give Jesus' command our amen.

May the Almighty God our Father help us to allow Christ’s love to pour forth profusely. Let it be! So be it. Amen.


Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2017, with scriptures from many of the translations on Bible Gateway

Thursday, June 4, 2015

First Commandment: Love

Mark 12:28-31

Hearing an argument,
one of the scribes
came forward to ask,
“Then which is the first
of all commandments?”

Jesus replied,
“The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The LORD our God
is the only LORD,
and you shall love
the LORD your God

with all of your heart,
with all of your soul,
with all of your mind,
with all of your strength,

and the second command is this:

you shall love your neighbor
as yourself. No other
commandments are greater
than these.”

©2015, Mary Harwell Sayler prayer-a-phrased today’s reading in the Gospel of Mark by referring to several of the many translations provided by Bible Gateway.





Friday, March 13, 2015

The love commandments


Mark 12:28-31

Coming up to Jesus, a religious expert asked,
“What’s the most important commandment?”

Jesus said, “The first thing to hear and heed is this:

The Lord, our God
alone is God!

And you shall love the Lord your God

in body, mind, and spirit:

with all of your heart,
with all of your soul,
with all of your mind,
and with all of your strength and being.

The second thing to hear and heed is this:

Your shall love other people just as much
as you must love yourself.

No other commandments mean more than these.



©2015, Mary Harwell Sayler prayer-a-phrased this scripture in Mark 12 from some of the many translations found on Bible Gateway.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Our First Love: God


In Matthew 10:37, Jesus made a puzzling statement: "People who love their father or mother more than Me are not worthy of Me. Those who love a son or daughter more than Me are not worthy of Me."

To keep that hard saying of Jesus in context, however, He showed us a bigger picture in Matthew 22:37-39: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Clearly God wants us to love other people and ourselves very much but not put what they want – or what we want – before anything God wants.

What does God want? Who can know without knowing what God says? And so, Jesus urged His followers to listen to God. Quoting the Torah (Jewish law) He commanded: "Hear, O Israel."

Known as the Shema (Hebrew word for listen), the full commandment in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says: “Hear, oh Israel, listen! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord! Therefore, you must love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. Keep these words I am commanding you today in your hearts and on your minds. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit around your house and when you go out, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them on your hand as a sign, and put them on your forehead as a symbol. Write them on the doorposts of your home and on your gates.”

As these Bible verses show, God wants us to use everyday opportunities and experiences to show our children, friends, and neighbors our beliefs. Even strangers who knock on our doors will be able to see that we belong to the Almighty Lord God and Father of Love if we have symbols and signs of God all around our yards and houses. A lawn statue, a Bible verse plaque, a cross on the wall, or a dust-free Bible on a table can openly but quietly attest to our love for God in a way that people can see as soon as they enter our homes. More importantly, those same signs, symbols, or icons also remind us to love God and to put God first and foremost – in our relationships, decisions, daily activities, and even our décor.

Prayer: Dear Lord God, help us to love You more and put You before anyone or anything else at any time. Help us to listen and really hear what You have to say to us. Help us especially to see how You first loved us so much that You gave up Your only Son for us, so we could forever be Your beloved children too. We thank You and praise You, O Lord God, for your ongoing love.
~~

©2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. Please do not copy without permission.

Praying for love

And this is my prayer: that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and insight, that you may be able to discern and do ...