A reflection on Matthew 22:34-46, the Gospel lesson for Proper 25a, according to the Revised Common Lectionary.
Ilike digging into scripture to find the subtexts, the links to other texts and stories in another section of the Bible, and the cultural references that might not be readily grasped today. I love that so much, that when I’m preaching I too often spend the bulk of my time on that, and relegate the “so here’s what to do now” to almost an afterthought.
That’s one of my growing edges.
But, there are some sections of scripture which just really don’t need that. There are a few texts which just need to be read and absorbed into daily life.
Today’s Gospel lesson is one of those.
The greatest commandment is to love God and our neighbor. It is the very core of the Gospel. It is the distilled essence of Jesus’ teaching. AND, it’s the words behind the actions of Jesus’ Passion.
His life, death, and resurrection was the physical manifestation of the love that he taught.
The Church spends a lot of time on a lot of things. We have programs and initiatives, we have theological arguments and conversations, we build buildings and we seek to expand our reach. But, we cannot forget the core, the foundation of love.
We are redeemed by love, and we are to be known for our love of others. Love for those near us, and those far; those like us, and those alien to us; those who we like, and those who we have a hard time stomaching; those who are nice to us, and those who have injured us greatly; those who think like us, vote like us, pray like us, and those who work for the very opposite things.
We love. We encourage love. We are to build people and communities and cultures on love.