Spirituality, Liturgy and the Tao of Inner Peace
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
The leaders of the time were questioning Jesus, I suppose trying to “trip him up.” They came up with a most complicated scenario of 7 brothers, each dying without children and each one taking the wife of the one that passed before him. The question was who will be his wife in the after life? We may laugh and say how silly these guys were, but the truth is we exercise this kind of questioning, examining, pointless rhetoric about who’s sinning and who’s not EVERYDAY. My social media is full of those taking sides on issues that in the end don’t really matter.
This blog is for everyone, Christian, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic and so on, because the message that comes later in this passage of scripture is for the world. You don’t have to believe in a higher being, Jesus, Buddha, or any god to hear and receive this next message. As Jesus answers this question about the wife situation very well another teacher of the Law steps forward to ask what he thinks will be a curve ball of a question I am sure. “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Radical Jesus replies “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength, 2 Love your neighbor as yourself.” The first commandment is personal and within each of us, for now I will let you ponder that in your own way, and faith. Let us examine the second, the message for all the world.
Even on just a historical level Jesus is radical because his message is so simple. It is an assault in the face of those who’s egos reside in the fact that they follow all the rules, the Law. The law was no easy or laughing matter those who adhered to its strict rules certainly were patting them selves on the back, much like the health fanatic of our time I imagine… “I haven’t eaten processed food in years! ” Jesus says “Love one Another” For me, this is the core of all my beliefs, of who I am, of my passionate ministry. Let me demonstrate: If you Love your neighbor; you no longer steal from your neighbor, you don’t kill your neighbor, you are not mean, insensitive, you are not rude. Your neighbor is hungry, you feed them, your neighbor is homeless, you house him, your neighbor is hurt, you hurt with him, you love him. There are no other laws that matter because there is nothing more to do than love. Love heals, love cares, love does not boast or do wrong. So if you can even just for a minute believe in the historical Jesus and nothing else, doesn’t he have a beautiful message? Buddha has the same message, be good to your brothers and sisters, don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t break bonds of relationships. I know that it is not easy or simple all the time, some times it is so hard, but can you find that love? I know that if we could love one another we could live in a wonderful world.
Imagine….John Lennon said it didn’t he? I remember as a child I thought what a terrible song! “Imagine no Heaven no Hell” My thought was well there is!! This guy is crazy. In my young, simple understanding I rebelled, when we look at the surface or the trees, missing the forest we want the rules! We want the gold stars for good and lashings for bad. Jesus also says ” the first shall be last, and the last shall be first” Much like the prodigal son parable from last time, because you see — love doesn’t keep score! IT DOESN’T KEEP SCORE, IT LOVES!! Radical thoughts in a world where we keep score. WE keep score, He loves.
Can you begin to love without a score board?
I try very hard to see each person as my neighbor, love them, make them feel loved, put a smile on their face, cheer them up, make them laugh. When I’m driving and the neighbor cuts me off I try to imagine where their lives might be? No one knows…I just let them go on, maybe they were late for work. The people I don’t understand….why would you want to be a woman when born as a man? I don’t know, but just because that’s not my story, my understanding, should I be mean? Publicly scorn them? Write mean jokes, and inappropriate slurs at their expense? Jesus called us to LOVE! Does a flag have historical meaning to me but offend my brother? Then in LOVE I take it down, it ain’t worth the hurt. Do I disagree with my brother who goes to another faith or denomination? I am commanded to love. WE are commanded to love. Love is not I love you….now let me tell you all the ways you are a rotten sinner and bound for hell! My brothers and sister if we want to bring people to the church we must stop this meanness in the “name” of speaking the truth. Jesus showed us over and over again as he sat with those who were despised at the time, as he said you cast the first stone if you are perfect! You see if we imagine the biblical world in our world today we are the teachers of the law the Sadducees and Pharisees and Jesus is sitting outside of our walls, with the poor, the hated, the transgendered, or the race you despise. Let us not make the mistake that they did, let’s embrace the love of GOD and share it freely with all — I promise you won’t go wrong. LOVE WINS. #LOVEONEANOTHER
Listen to my version of Imagine, by John Lennon