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Memorize & Ponder for Sunday June 15, 2014

The Most Important

Mark 12:29-31   (NRSV)

Jesus answered, “The first is
‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord your God, the Lord is one;
you shall 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,
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Throughout 2014, the Christian community at Brentwood Presbyterian Church is getting to know Jesus, the Christ, in a refreshing and transformative way. We invite you to listen for what the Spirit is saying in the text, then question how those insights might change the ways you see things and act in the world. Share your thoughts during the week on the meaning the Spirit creates for you in this text by posting a comment here.

A Provocative Pondering

In Matthew, Jesus is recorded as saying that this commandment summarizes all the law and the prophets.

In Luke, Jesus follows this commandment with the parable of the Good Samaritan.

In Deuteronomy, the first of these two commandments is given.  In the Jewish tradition, it’s called the shema – with its focus on there being one God, and one God only. Devout Jews pray this morning and night, acknowledging to God their faith and loyalty in God alone.

When Jesus adds love for others and for self, he is expanding the scope of this Jewish tradition, asserting that you cannot love God without loving others and self. That is a significant change in interpretation. It draws out explicitly the significance of the covenant with Abraham and the message of the prophets – if you love God, you will love and bless your neighbor and yourself. And your neighbour, just in case you wondered, is anyone of God’s beloved children who inhabit the earth.

This provocative teaching has reverberated down through the ages, challenging any attempt to reserve the Gospel to any particular group of humans. It also challenges any attempt to denigrate the dignity and worth of the self. We are enabled to love God, others, and self – all together all the time. That is our calling.

Join us in our study groups and worship services to ponder together what the Spirit is teaching us through this text.

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