One time some religious leaders came to Jesus and asked what is the greatest commandment. There are 613 commandments in the Jewish scriptures and they thought that if he picked one, they would be able to trap him because others would say that he had picked the wrong one. And Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your being, and the second is to love your neighbour as yourself. And all the law and prophets and scripture hang on these two commandments.
You know when asked what was the greatest Jesus didn’t say believe this or that. He didn’t say worship this way or that way. Jesus didn’t even say go to this church or be a Christian or be a Jew or a Sikh or a Muslim. He didn’t say “Be a Presbyterian.” Jesus said “love.”
The word love is used ubiquitously. We see a beautiful person and exclaim: “oh, I am in love.” “It was love at first sight.” “I couldn’t help myself from loving.”
We love everything we like from chocolates to apple pie, to singing, to rap music, to friends, to family, to lovers, to our favorite movie star, to our favourite sports team, to our new BMW with leather seats, moon roof and adaptive cruise control.
But Jesus ordered us love. And what Jesus showed us is that the highest form of love is not a feeling. It is not romantic and sexy. It is choosing to act in another’s best interest even the days you don’t feel like it. Even if the other is a neighbour, or a stranger or even an enemy.
And Jesus would go on to not only talk about love but show us love. He was executed on the cross and asked God to forgive those who killed him, to forgive all of us who do wrong. You can kill Jesus but Jesus still loves.
You know if seems to me that in every kind of religion – Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, Muslim – that you will find that compassion and love are at the core of the religion, but not everybody believes that.
In every religion, there are those who use their faith and religion to control, to tell other how to live their lives, to point fingers, accuse, dominate and even send people to hell.
And in every religion, there are those who use their faith and religion to love, to accept, to include, to help the poor and needy…
Jesus says love. Do we really believe that loving God and loving neighbour are the basis of our faith? If so, then don’t just think it or believe it. Live it through conscious choices to do acts of love, and especially to one another.
Westmount Presbyterian Church