Tuesday, May 31, 2016

WMTRBW 42: Loving God

So, this week  I don't necessarily agree with what Brian McLaren says. Throughout his chapter on what Jesus meant when he called us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, he makes the case that loving God is "not so different than loving another human being." In the purest sense, if we were to actually love one another by the biblical definition of love--deep commitment and loyalty and devotion to the well-being of the other--I suppose I wouldn't dispute this too strongly. But I feel like our notions of love are largely so distorted that to think of loving God as similar to loving humans could be misleading--is God someone we fall in and out of love with, feeling passionate towards for a time but then seeing the embers (and the relationship) fade?

Jesus is calling us towards something deeper--a devotion that lasts, a commitment of the whole self. So, for your continued reflection this week, I want to re-post the meditation I led us through at the end of worship on Sunday, considering our call to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Reflect on these as you continue to think this week about love for God as something deep that roots us, that becomes the center of our lives.

Love the Lord Your God with all of your heart…
If your heart is what makes you unique, “what makes you tick,” then what is different or special about your personality? How might these things be used to love God?

If the heart is where you form your thoughts and recall important things, then how might you show commitment to God with what you choose to think about or remember?

If the heart is where our actions and choices stem from, where we decide what we will do, how might you show commitment to God with a decision before you this week?  

Love the Lord Your God with all of your soul…
The Hebrew word for sou literally means “the one who breathes.” It goes back to Genesis 2:7, where “the Lord God formed the human from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the human became a living being, or soul.” To love God with all our soul is to love God with everything that gives us life. Breathe in and out several times—slowly, deeply. What would it mean to love God with every breath that fills your lungs? How can something as simple as breathing remind you of your commitment to God?

Love the Lord Your God with all of your mind…
Consider the mind as the seat of our intentionality and resolve – our combined mental and emotional energy. On what do you expend the most energy? How can your energy be directed to demonstrate love of God?

Love the Lord Your God with all your strength…
If “strength” often refers to one’s possessions, whatever resources one has at one’s disposal, how are you showing love for God with how you use your resources?

When this word shows up in the Bible, “strength” can also be translated “muchness” or “abundance.” It means something is not just okay or average, but the best and greatest possible. What do you think it could mean to love God not just with your leftover time or energy, but with the best of what you have to give?  

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