There is a difference between falling in love with someone and loving the Lord. Falling in love is a wonderful experience, but God’s love is what we should fall for. We share that kind of love with all human beings. It’s hard work sometimes.
In Deuteronomy 6:1-9 we hear Moses sharing: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.”
Moses lays out the first and great commandment after recognizing that there is only one God and this one God is the God of Israel. He establishes that God and all of His creation have love as its basis. In Mark’s gospel (12:29-34 NRSV) Jesus restates this commandment to a scribe adding the second of the two great commandments, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The scribe responds wisely by saying, “This is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Jesus said to him upon hearing his comment, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
This first and great commandment that spawns the second one is easily accepted by most of us. There is a big difference, however, between accepting it and living it. When we don’t live it, we are not properly connected to God. There is separation. Moses takes this a step further by saying, “Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.” Yes, we must tell this to our children and talk about loving our God at home and in our travels. We must begin and end each day with this love in our hearts and on our minds.
How are we doing? We say that we accept this commandment, but isn’t accepting also internalizing? Maybe we only recognize this commandment. Is this the way for most of us? Do we just recognize this as a commandment from God and then go our merry way? God shows us who He is and what He stands for in seeking our love. We fool ourselves by thinking that we have truly accepted His request that we love Him in our whole existence. We must honestly evaluate where we are in fulfilling His request.
Attending church on Sunday is a start, but it is not a guarantee that we will love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our might. The churches are full of us folks that haven’t gotten to this point. What is important is that we are seeking God and to know Him better so that we can commit our love to Him. Through His Son Christ Jesus He has told us, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13 NRSV).” What’s not to love?