Updated: Feb 6
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. - Deuteronomy 6:5
These words spoken by Moses to the children of Israel are later quoted by Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke, to paraphrase, "Love God wholly." Oh boy, that's a tall order. How do we, the sinful and broken beings that we are, love with entirety? How does that even look? At times, the task seems overwhelming and intimidating -- where do we begin? The writer and theologian C.S. Lewis sums it up well, "On the whole, God's love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him." We experience God’s love for us daily, and we can quickly come up with a list of how he blesses us. But trying to explain how we should love him in return is difficult to express.
To begin, we must confess that we are incapable of such a feat without God’s help. To do this means setting aside our egos and committing fully to him. Through the spiritual disciplines of study, meditation, and prayer, we come to know the will of God. By listening for God’s voice and opening ourselves to obedience, taking responsibility for our actions when we are wrong, and asking for forgiveness. To love him with all our might means staying strong, and maintaining our faith and trust, and having the courage to demonstrate God’s glory to the world. When we do this, we share God’s love for us with others, and when we stand for justice and righteousness -- attributes of God.
Our closing prayer comes from the Confession and Pardon, found in the Service of Word and Table II, from the United Methodist Hymnal.
We confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have failed to be an obedient church.
We have not done your will,
We have broken your law,
We have rebelled against your love,
We have not loved our neighbors,
And we have heard the cry of the needy.
Forgive us, we pray.
Free us for joyful obedience,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.