In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
from Touched by an Angel by Maya Angelou
The legal expert said to him, “Well said, Teacher. You have truthfully said that God is one and there is no other besides him. And to love God with all of the heart, a full understanding, and all of one’s strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself is much more important than all kinds of entirely burned offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he had answered with wisdom, he said to him, “You aren’t far from God’s kingdom.” After that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Whenever my father, an Episcopal priest, was asked how a service or a sermon went, he would always hold up his hand with index and thumb almost touching, replying, “We were this close – this close to bringing home the kingdom.” I like to imagine Jesus, with a slight grin on his face treating the scribe in a similar way in this passage. The scholar replied to Jesus in almost the exact same words that Jesus had initially used. Jesus was so impressed that he told the man he was right on the cusp of the kingdom.
Is it really that easy? Some days it feels like we are about as far away from God’s kingdom as we could get. Look at any number of news headlines, and it feels like this world is falling apart. But within all that darkness, our world is shot through with moments of light. Look around you! It’s there, usually on the fringes. Maybe it is as simple as responding to Jesus in his own words. As simple as loving God and loving each other.
God, we’re waiting on the coming of your heavenly kingdom. While we wait, I hope to bring a bit of your kingdom to earth. Show me how to act as your son Jesus has taught me, loving you and loving others as I love myself. Amen.
Thérèse of Lisieux, a young French Carmelite nun of the 19th century, wrote:
"My vocation is love! In the heart of the Church, who is my Mother, I will be love. So I shall be everything and so my dreams will be fulfilled — to make Love loved."
May we be love. May our lives be portraits of love.