Saturday, 3 November 2012

the second, like it, is this ...

the gospel portion for this week, following the revised common lectionary, is from Mark 12, in which Jesus responds to another question: what is the greatest commandment?
he replies with words so many know: love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this, you shall love your neighbour as yourself.

a couple of things strike me about it today.

'like it' - loving our neighbour is like loving God. I wonder if this is because God is present in each of us (Jesus will say elsewhere, when you clothe, feed, visit each other, you clothe, feed, visit me). I wonder if it is because, as the writer of the Disciplines reflections for this week observes, love is our response to God's love. a mere commandment to love does not inspire love. Love inspires love, and what Jesus is describing here in these commandments is the appropriate response to God's love. Receiving love, we love - God, and our neighbours. (another question we might fruitfully ponder is, who is my neighbour - oh, weight, there's another story for that ...)

the other thing that occurred to me was a question. as a storyteller, I wondered, how would I embody this text in order to tell it?
and it hit me - as a storyteller, to tell this story with integrity, to embody these words, I must embody them with my living. Jesus isn't the narrator in this story, as he is in the story of the father with two sons (aka the prodigal son), so it's not an embodiment of Jesus as narrator. however, I wonder if a biblical storyteller can convey the meaning of this story, if a reader of the Bible in worship can invite the congregation to respond to this story with the love Jesus asks of us, if we ourselves are not known by our listeners to love?

(and I think this may have a related question for the way the bearers of the letters from Paul read them aloud in community, and the extent to which Paul's arguments needed to become their arguments, to have transformed them first, before they could communicate these words and thoughts with the early Christian communities with any hope of inviting them into transformed attitudes, beliefs and actions as followers of Christ?)

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