April 8, 2008

The Great Commandment

So I committed myself to using the Missio Dei Breviary for my morning and evening prayers. This little 4 week prayer book comes highly recommended by me, since it grows out of a Neo-Monastic community, focuses on Jesus' life, and has a strong social justice perspective. You can buy it, view the daily prayers online; or my favorite, flip through the entire book in issuu.

Now to move beyond the plug, seriously, check it out. I haven't done well, no really, I've sucked at using the breviary. Today though while I was meditating on the prayer, which begins with the Great Commandment. Now I know this commandment has been reinterpreted to help bring out the significance of the second command, yet I think it still gets tread under foot in light of the first.

The problem? Well, I don't think that Jesus in anyway meant to separate these two commands and place primacy or even priority of one over the other. Yet, we in our modern ways like to split atoms about everything then place those atoms in categories where certain preferences take precedence over others. This is what happens to these two commands. We read them, and see in verse 38 that the first command to "Love God" is the first and greatest, while the second is only like it. Therefore, we place the first over and even against the second as if we accomplish them in steps.

I think that Jesus summed the Law and Prophets using these two commands in reciprocal relationship to one to the other so that one cannot love God without loving one's neighbor, and one cannot love their neighbor without loving God. Thus, I reimagine the great commandment like this:

"Love God with all you have, and love your neighbor as if they are all you have."

What do you think of my rewording? Would you reword these verses and how?

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