Thursday, January 06, 2005

"God with me protecting/The Lord with me directing"

Jesus said the law rested on two commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your mind, all your heart, and all your soul; and, love your neighbor as yourself. It has recently been pointed out to me that following these commandments would leave no room for offending our neighbors by putting forward the use of public space for one religion over any other. If it offended our neighbor, it would also offend God. And so we would violate both commandments at once.

Of course, those who take the opposite position do so, knowingly or not, because of their identities, their "sense of self." We are all creatures of boundaries, and about none are we more sensitive than the boundary between "me and "not-me." Most of us are very concerned about that boundary, and very defensive about it. Anything that is "not-me" is, or may be, a threat to "me." So we watch the borders closely, and keep a close eye on our personal frontiers. Quite often it takes up our whole mind, heart, and soul.

But Jesus tells us to devote those things solely to loving God, and with what we have left (!), to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. God is first, we and our neighbor are equal as second. Which puts on us, a tremendous responsibility. Which, of course, is what religion is; or it is nothing at all.

Now, to love God wholly, with all we are or think ourselves to be, leaves nothing "over" to love anyone else with; or so it would seem. But apparently it does. And then to love all the rest that is "not-me" as much as I love "me," well....

Thus does religion being to teach us about humility.

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