- Deuteronomy 5:1-21
- Deuteronomy 6:4-9
- Leviticus 19:17-18
Early Thoughts: So many rules. Everywhere we turn there are rules. If only there was a simple summary...
The stated purpose of the book of Deuteronomy is to retell the Law and the story. Tradition holds that this book is the last address of Moses to the people before he dies and the people cross over the Jordan into Canaan. For 40 years they have been wandering around in the wilderness. They have been given Torah, the Law but they have also grumbled a lot and complained and seem easily led astray -- such as when Moses went up to Sinai to get the Law and the people got tired of waiting and decided to build a Golden Calf. So before his death Moses reminds them how they are supposed to live.
There is a story. A famous rabbi was once asked if he could summarize the Law and the prophets while standing on one foot. Given the Torah has hundreds of laws and then the prophets challenge how the people fail to live out those laws and then there are volumes of commentary on what the laws mean this seems an impossible task. The rabbi smiled, lifted up one foot, and said "Love God, Love Your Neighbour -- everything else is commentary".
Love is the law.
Jesus uses the same summary. He refers to Deuteronomy and Leviticus to summarize what is needed. Love is the law.
We have heard this many times before. Many sermons have been preached about the need, the commandment, to love. And still we need the reminder. Jeremiah foresaw a time when the law would be written on/in the hearts of the people. As I look around I think we have yet to get there. But I think Deuteronomy 6 gives us a hint about how to get there.
Observant Jews are told to remind themselves and their children daily who God is and to love God with their whole being. They are told to post the reminder on their doorpost, to tie it around their bodies. They are told to teach their children these truths, to pass them on. Jesus would have been a product of this teaching.
Do we do the same? Can we do the same? Can we remind ourselves in prayer and action every day to love God and neighbour? How do we pass this on to the generations who follow us?
How do we make the law of love a key part not just of our lives but of our very beings, so that is infuses every Facebook post, every text, every choice we make? And what might the world look like if we can do that?
There is a faith practice of formulating a Rule of Life. I suggest that in the Love God, Love Neighbour [Love Self] summary we have a Rule of Lie. How good are you at following rules?