Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Daily reading: Mark 12:28-44
Tuesday March 8, 2016
Focus passage: One of the legal experts heard their dispute and saw how well Jesus answered the. He came over and asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Mark 12:28
Jesus is in the temple and he is in conversation with the religious insiders and rather than asking a question to trap or trick Jesus, we get a rare honest conversation between Jesus and a legal expert.
In the midst of trying to follow 613 torah laws, there is a question of whether or not you can actually summarize them.
What is the measure for following the law he wants to know?
What is the measure or guide for being in faithful community?
What is the guide for being part of a community that is set apart and becomes a beacon for others wanting to be in genuine relationship with God and with a faithful community?
The question speaks to the motivation we have for coming together and being community.
It speaks to our desire to not just have our theology reside in our heads, but to have it live in our hearts and be the guiding principal for our actions in the world. Because when we boil it down, it is life giving.
Jesus repeats the shema found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, “hear oh Israel, Our God in the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” And then he links that with Leviticus 19:18, as many other religious leaders of the time would have, “love your neighbor as yourself.”
No other commandment is greater than these, and all of them can be placed within either the category of loving God or loving neighbor.
The shema is said to the nation Israel, to a gathering of people and not just to individuals. It begins with “Hear, O Israel” the action then being one of receiving, listen, everyone. God calls us to place ultimate priority on God and on neighbor.
How do we value one another? How do we love our neighbor? Are there some we consider not to be our neighbors and therefore not in need of our love?
Prayer: God help me to see what is hidden and hear what I have ignored, may it open my heart more the needs all around me and in effect help mold my heart into one of a servants. Amen.
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