Heard at Café: 01/14/2020

Tonight's Café included London Fogs (delicious) and scones (super delicious).

We also heard a talk from Jeremy on Mark 12:28-34.

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

Prior to this passage, the teachers of the law had been testing Jesus: asking him questions in order to trip him up. In this passage, we see a teacher of the law asking what seems to be another one of these questions. In response to his question, Jesus gives him more than what he asks for: not just one commandment, but two. Jesus tells the man that the two greatest commandments are to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. This is telling us that in a changing world, we can start with these two commandments as our guides and our building blocks.

"Love the Lord your God" is a commandment that comes from a passage in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 6:4-9. 

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

This passage would've been words that the teachers of the law knew well. In Jesus' time, the Pharisees had become grounded more in rituals and sacrifices rather than the meaning behind them. Jesus is reminding them of this command and telling them to stay anchored in this one key idea. It's a commandment that we've already heard many times before, but the story in Mark reminds us that everything else flows from it -- that the rituals and sacrifices have no meaning if we don't have the love behind it. 

The commandment also says that we should love the Lord our God with ALL of our heart, ALL of our soul, and ALL of our strength. This kind of love should permeate everything; no part of us should remain unaffected.

Jesus is ultimately reminding us of what we already know. He tells us to be rooted in these ideas of loving God, loving our neighbors, and loving ourselves.

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