East Finchley Methodist Church

EFM Reflection

Love hands30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Total and dynamic

“’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’”

Matthew 22. 37b-40

There is nothing unique in Jesus’ responses to the Pharisees’ question, ‘Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ They form part of the prayer that every devout Jew prays to this day. What is unique is how Jesus asks us to respond in the way we live our lives.

There is no vague sentimentality in the way we should love God and love those around us. The love which Jesus demonstrated and expects of us is total and dynamic. But how ever much the religious leaders of Jesus time spoke and prayed these two great commandments, it was only superficially that they honoured them. Jesus requires a complete renewal of our innermost being that demonstrate total love of God and all who are created in God’s image.

First comes love of God second comes love of neighbour. One cannot exist without the other. Without love of God we cannot truly love those around us. Without love of neighbour we have failed in our love of God.

I don’t believe, even with this knowledge, that we fully comprehend how hard this is. We may live our whole lives seeking to live in the grace and love of God and yet, so often, we are aware that there are dark corners of our lives where the light of love has not yet reached. We are not so different from the Pharisees if we fail to acknowledge this.

We really need to see is the bigger picture that is revealed in the mission, death and resurrection of Jesus. In his mission, we have the flawless example of a life lived for the love of others. In his death, we see his love of God revealed in perfect obedience as he died for the sin of the world. In his resurrection, we see the message of new life in total commitment to God and dynamic service to all.

In Jesus, these are not commands but an invitation and a promise to a new way of life. If we persist, he will bring light to the dark corners of lives and total and dynamic love will rule.

The Methodist Church provides worship and devotional resources at www.methodist.org.uk

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Last updated: 25 October 2020

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