Pause

If every human being had the capacity to do the right thing every minute of every day, humankind would have no need of laws.

But since all of us have the capacity for both hatred and love, we are compelled to make rules that provide our best judgment for how to live together in peace and justice. Laws alone cannot ensure our well-being, however. The stories of our very best human selves are the stories of our love for one another — the stories where laws and social norms are trumped by hearts that love and people who follow their hearts and act on that love.

Consider now how love can help us be our best selves.

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Listen

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘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.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31

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Think

In our world where anyone can publish a book, it’s hard to imagine that in Jesus’ time a handful of people controlled the printed word. Few people could read and write, so the scribes were the only ones who could write legal documents and religious texts. They constantly challenged Jesus’ thinking, and since all laws were important, they thought they could make Jesus less credible if he gave the wrong answer.

It’s no surprise, then, that today people still argue about what it means to believe in God. But the scribes could find no fault with Jesus’ response then, nor can we now. Jesus reminds us that no matter how much we disagree, we serve a God who expects us to love with our hearts, our souls, our minds, our strength. While it may take a lifetime to understand what that means, we are commanded to do our best to love our neighbors.

No greater responsibility exists — all other laws are secondary to love.

Estelene Boratenski

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Pray

Dear Lord, help me to remember that you are a God of love. Teach me to love you with my whole self and to love my neighbor with the love you have shown to me. Amen.

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Go

We are one in the Spirit,
We are one in the Lord,
And we pray that all unity may
One day be restored:
And they’ll know we are Christians
By our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
By our love.

Peter Scholte

Estelene Boratenski

Estelene Boratenski is a mother, writer, and teacher. You can learn more about her writing and her vocation on her web site.

Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life

Ken Medema

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