Sometimes, some things we read in the Bible get turned into obligations rather than opportunities. Or they become lectures rather than conversations.
This week we’ve been looking at what Jesus said every morning, including the last week of his life (Monday and Tuesday). It’s familiar to many of us: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength.” The other morning I was looking at it early. I was thinking about the shift ahead of me, knowing I was going to see hard things. And I thought about Jesus looking ahead at his days, knowing he was going to see hard things.
And somehow, I realized that each morning, after he said those words, he may have said, “Hey Dad! That’s how we roll. I do love you with my whole heart. And all my soul is yours. And I’m thinking as hard as I can, looking for the most creative ways to help people thing about you. And every move, every breath, every laugh, every long walk to wells in Samaria, that’s you and me together.”
I’m pretty sure Jesus wasn’t saying, “I hope I measure up.” He wasn’t saying, “Lord, does this count as loving you with my whole mind, or do I need to change that, or do I need to be more serious.”
It was a conversational way of life with his Dad.
And when he added in the “Love your neighbor as yourself,” he was extending the conversation to Peter. And to Judas. And acknowledged that being patient with them was loving God.
I think, maybe, my shift was a little less about getting the love right. I think it was a little more about loving. Which is what I’d want to do if it were my last week. Or on someone else’s last day.
My new Advent journal is out on Kindle, and will be available soon in paperback. Check it out!