Daily Archives: November 20, 2020
1 Chronicles 29:10-12 (NRSV)
David’s Praise to God
10 Then David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly; David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might; and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all.
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10
One day an expert of the law approached Jesus and wanted to know how to obtain eternal life. Jesus asked him what the law stated. The man explained that you must love God with your whole heart, mind, and strength, and also love your neighbor as yourself. Rather than giving a long list of regulations, Jesus agreed with the man’s conclusion. The heart of the gospel can be summed up in one word: love.
In this passage from Romans, Paul is inviting us to reflect on the core of everything that God has planned for us – the core, in fact, of everything he has ever done. God’s love for us is the beginning from which all else flows. Before he even created us, he loved us. He called us into being because he wanted to share his love with us. Even when we rejected him and chose our own way, he didn’t abandon his plan. Rather, he continued to call us back to himself, seeking always to bring his plan to fruition in our lives.
When God gave us the commandments, it was not just so that we could stay out of trouble or avoid his wrath. Rather, the commandments were an invitation to put our lives in order so that we would be more open to receiving his presence and his grace. They were founded on the truth that his love, dwelling in us, has the power to fulfill us in ways that sin and self-centered behavior never could.
Today’s passage in Romans moves us to ask: Have I let a focus on rules or expectations cloud my vision of the love that God has for me? And a second question follows almost immediately: Have I allowed judgmental attitudes to overshadow love in my relationships with other people? When we are filled with God’s love, we begin to see people in new ways, focusing on mercy and compassion and not on judgments or condemnations.
Loving God and loving our neighbors: It really is a simple calling!