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

Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.

Mark 12:32-34

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Think

Many of the important people in Jesus’ time listened to respond, rather than to hear. They asked questions they thought he couldn’t answer, and when he did, they didn’t stop to think about what he was saying. They simply volleyed another question until they knew it was useless to continue. Many of his questioners never gave any depth of thought to the wisdom Jesus spoke.

Unlike the others, the scribe in this story truly heard what Jesus said. He not only heard, he repeated back Jesus’ words and his own understanding of them. He got it that God wants our love more than any material thing we can offer or sacrifice. Jesus’ response to the man makes clear that we are closer to seeing the face of God when we truly think about what it means to love.

Estelene Boratenski

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Pray

Loving God, thank you for stories that remind me that love is more important than anything else I can offer to you. Help me remember to love others as you love 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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