Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 25, 2014
Keeping the commandments
“If you love me, keep my commandments.” I sing these words in my head every time I read this text. For forty-three years I have sung in the choir of Central Moravian Church. As a singer, I have been privileged to learn many different anthems whose inspiration was a text of the Bible.
What is Jesus telling us in this text? Which commandments is he talking about? I would say that the most obvious would be “‘Hear O Israel: The Lord our 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’” (Mark 12:29-31).
Love is the commandment. We need to learn love. The requirements of love are demanding. Love God with all your heart soul, mind, and strength is a little much, isn’t it? We’re in church right now-doesn’t that prove something? Am I really participating, or am I thinking about the coming week? Loving God means trusting God to care for you, having your best interests at heart. Loving God might mean not worrying—about anything.
Love your neighbor as yourself. Many of us have struggled with love of self, understanding and accepting our own self-worth. Loving our neigh¬bor, even when that “neighbor” disappoints you/ Loving the driver that cuts you off. Loving your child as he or she is screaming, “I hate you,” because you dared to say no. Love is not easy. I believe that love is hard for us because it seems so easy for God. God’s love pours down on us, is always available to us/ It is difficult to understand the abundance of God’s love.
Keeping Jesus’ commandments will bring us the Holy Spirit to help us to love. Loving God, yourself, and others will fill you with even more love. Love will grow exponentially. Think of it: Love could change the world!
Martha E. Griffis, elder, Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania