This Sunday, Pastor Donnell spoke on the subject of love. He pointed out how God has loved us from the beginning, to the point of walking among us as a man, subjecting himself to everything we go through, from birth to death. Pastor Donnell said that God’s love acts, his love acts.
In response to a question of which was the greatest commandment, Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to Love God with all our heart, mind and soul. Jesus went on to say that there was a second: that we love our neighbor as ourselves and that the entire was built on these two commands (Matthew 22: 36-40). These are usually taken to be commands that we should obey. There is another way to view them, though. Our ability to love God and neighbor can be seen as indicators of the extent which we have understood and accepted God’s love for us (and everyone else). As the Biblical writer John says: We love, because he first loved us. (1 John: 4:19)
This week, our meditation will focus on two Bible passages:
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:18-19: 18
The first time you pray these passages, you might consider the role which fear might play in your ability to love others, including God. This could be the fear that you won’t be cared for, that others might not be cared for, or other fears. Share any thoughts and feelings that you have with God. Invite God to look at these feelings, particularly fears, with you. Be open to anything God might say to you about them.
The second time through, I suggest that you recall any significant interactions which you have had with others over the past week or so. Recall how you felt and acted towards these others. In particular, try to be aware of the feelings that dominate these relationships and interactions? Share these with God and again, invite God to look at these feelings with you. Be open to hearing back from God about them.
If you have time, pray the passages a third time. Read them very slowly this time. Just try to be open to whatever comes to mind. When something does, pause, be aware of your thoughts and feelings and share them with God. Sit for a minute or two and await God’s response. Continue to share what comes to mind with God. Then resume your prayerful reading
Jot down anything of significance from your time of prayer.
Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.