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Monday, February 27, 2017

Today's Scripture Reading | Deuteronomy 6:1–15

Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that the Lord your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, so that you and your children and your children’s children, may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. When the Lord your God has brought you into the land that he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—a land with fine, large cities that you did not build, houses filled with all sorts of goods that you did not fill, hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant—and when you have eaten your fill, take care that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. The Lord your God you shall fear; him you shall serve, and by his name alone you shall swear. Do not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who are all around you, because the Lord your God, who is present with you, is a jealous God. The anger of the Lord your God would be kindled against you and he would destroy you from the face of the earth. (NRSV)

Listen! Love God! This passage needs exclamation points!

Love God with your whole being. Talk about it. Think about it. Teach about it. Write it on the walls and tie the words to your body. Write it on the doorways so when you go out and when you go in, you remember this:

Only God is God.

The things that make us afraid are not God. The things that make us angry are not God. The things that make us feel powerless are not God.

If I could love God that emphatically, and if I could remember my love for God that persistently, then love would be moving through me and making me strong all the time. If I could love God with all my focus—with all my heart, soul, and might—then fear would have a much harder time squeezing its way into my day. Lethargy and despair would not have room in my spirit.

If I could love and trust God that devotedly, then all my actions would line up with God’s vision of justice and compassion and healing for the world. Although we humans are unlikely to perfectly achieve this love, it’s the kind of love that God is always drawing us toward and offering to give us.

God of all creation, I love you. I love you for all that you have created. I love you that you have given me life. I love you that you walk with me every day, trying to get my attention and pointing to the people around me who need my love and kindness. I love you that you give me strength in the face of adversity. I love you that when I lie down at the end of my life, you will lie down with me and draw me even closer to you. Be with me always, God of Love. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Minister for Congregational Life

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