Sunday, September 25, 2016

Luke 10:27 -- On Loving and Feasting

"And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."
Luke 10:27

Stopping to think about this statement today, it struck me just how immense this idea is.  This is the answer to the question asked two verses previous: "what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (verse 25).  If we want eternal life, which I think is largely the point of the gospel, then this is the recipe.  But what does it mean to love with our hearts, souls, strength, and with our minds... let alone with ALL of them?

It makes me think of Christ asking us to come before him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit... the lesson there is not that we have to feel beaten down or conquered, but that God requires that utter and complete sincerity and honesty that we seem to only have with ourselves when we have lost something and/or realized that we are in the wrong.  When we know that we desperately need him, and only he will do.  Loving God with all our hearts doesn't mean that there is no love left for anyone else, but that we're finally realizing that God is part of, and the source of, that love that we share with our families, friends, and all the world.  Indeed, that's the essence of this whole lesson.  That God is an integral part of all that we do, all that we love, all that we are, and even all that we think.  Those good ideas, and that inspiration? ... totally God. :)

As we start to grasp the first part, then the second part becomes easier.  We learn to love people as we love ourselves.  And we love ourselves as we love God... with everything that we are, with everything that we think and do and say.  Christ, our perfect example, was one with his Father.  Not as a clone or a mysterious trinitary lifeform, but in the same way that he asks us to be one with him (John 17:20-23)--in purpose and heart, soul, strength, and mind, just as it says in the verse above: in love.  And if we are truly united with him in love, I can't imagine that we would ever have any room in our souls for hatred or even conflict.  Just the thought of those things would create disharmony and we'd end up not being on the same page anymore.  That's what having the spirit with us is... that feeling of harmony with God, where we can feel that love and the communication and strength and joy that comes with it.

Today, let's love God with all of ourselves.  Let's work at creating that peace and harmony in our lives, homes, and families so that we can have God with us all the time.  Let's go before him in humility and truth, with nothing held back, with no sin or hatred or conflict marring that open channel.  As we do, we will feel the spirit, and learn what that perfect unity feels like.  And once we have a glimpse of that, hopefully we realize the amazing and unbelievable joy we can have with more than a taste, and we will come back again and again to "feast upon his love" (Jacob 3:2).

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