This weekend’s theme is love.  In my opinion, if we boil down Christianity into one word that word would be love.

In the reading from Deuteronomy (30:10-14) Moses lets us know that within the human heart is a divine law that commands us to love. It’s something that we already possess within us.  Moses says, “No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” 

We possess love within.  We are love. When we act like ourselves, we love God, others and ourselves.  Love is our natural state. It’s when we’re not loving that we’re acting contrary to our nature.

It today’s gospel from Luke (10: 25-37), a Jewish scholar of the law asks Jesus, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus responds to his question with two questions, “What is written in the law?” and “How do you read it?”

The scholar says, “ You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  He gave Jesus the correct answer: Love, love, love, love, love.

The scholar needed further clarification so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Was he expecting a response from Jesus like, “Only your fellow Jews”  or “Only people within 2 kilometers of your home”? 

In typical Jesus fashion, he responds to this question with a parable – The Good Samaritan.

As we know from hearing this parable numerous times, it’s not the priest or the Levite who stopped to help the man who was robbed and beaten, it was a Samaritan (Samaritans were hated enemy of the Jews).  The priest and Levite crossed the street and kept on walking ignoring the man.

When Jesus asked the scholar, “Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”, his response was, “The one who treated him with mercy.”  The scholar didn’t say the Samaritan. Maybe he didn’t say the Samaritan because it was the enemy of the Jews who helped the man – not the priest, not the Levite. He was probably embarrassed that a brother of the same faith didn’t help a fellow brother.

How often do Christians argue and fight with fellow Christians?

Which of our neighbors is Jesus telling us to love? Every one of them.  It’s a big world. There are lots of people who need our love.  Many of them are within our own families.

Are we really supposed to love our enemies?  Our family members who’ve hurt us?  Terrorists who’ve killed our brothers and sisters and changed our way of life?

You know the answer.  It’s in your heart.  Jesus is just reminding us because it’s very easy to forget when we’re surrounded by so much fear and hatred.

You and I are the body of Christ in the world. We are love. Go forth and love. Remind others of the love that they too possess.

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One Response to “Love”

  1. Sandro Says:

    Joe, first of all, I thanks for reniadg my posts even though you disagree with them. As you know my Christian faith began in an Evangelical Church, although the word Evangelical was not used in those days. I have a great love for the Evangelical Church, I would not be where I am now if it had not been for my spiritual grounding in that tradition. Yet, as I have studied the scriptures I have been led by the Holy Spirit, I believe to move away from the Evangelical Church. Not so much in theology, but away from what the Evangelical Church, in my opinion, stands for now. If my comments seem to you to be offensive, I apologize. I agree, perhaps I do single out the Evangelical Church more than others. That’s because of my heritage and desire to see what I feel is error in the melding of politics, culture, and theology corrected. In particular, I addressed my comments regarding the church in Ephesus to the Evangelical Church because that’s the tradition that I see as being the most fervently opposed to immorality. If I were to continue on to the other churches, I would place other versions of Christianity among those churches.True, many Evangelical churches do have extensive outreach to others that’s to be commended yet, I have a hard time reconciling statements made by many Evangelicals (I do know not all can be lumped together) pastors from the pulpit and from individual Evangelical Christians with God’s call to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before God. Those to whom Micah was writing did everything by the book, yet God was not pleased because they had forgotten what God really expected. You could say, they forgotten, forsaken, their first love.Joe, I know you will disagree with me, but this is how I see it. As I mentioned politics and Christianity in one breath, I should clear something up here, I am neither a Republican nor Democrat. I have little faith in either party. Frankly, I have little faith in politics yes, I will vote. I cannot meld a political party to my Christianity. To do so is both to make God less than God, and in light of the First Commandment, to leave my first love for a false God. At least, that’s the way I see it.In Christian love,Frank

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