Loving...

Sunday's scripture is about the Pharisees' asking Jesus about which is the greatest commandment. He replies with the Shema: "Hear O Israel, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, (He adds this one…with all your mind), and with all your strength." Jesus then says: "This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it; "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

In our world of so much anger and hatred it is hard to see this last commandment being lived out in our society. A current conservative infatuation with the writings of Ayn Rand and her atheistic philosophy of capitalism which she called Objectivism, makes it hard to get people to hear about loving neighbor amid the cries of "What's mine is mine." So much current conservative opinion calls for the divorcement of politics from faith. I find it disheartening.

One major political candidate has called for the building of a deadly fence on the border to kill those who try to pass. His call reflects the even-harsher cries of white supremacist groups, euro-centrics, and Neo Nazis who are calling for the deaths of those who try to enter our nation illegally. Such cruelty is so normative among some groups that it has become a pervasive major then in our national dialogue.

And, there is the gun lobby who think that self-defense is a primary right and discipline we all should practice. At the heart of their call is a distinct divide from the ethics taught by Christ.

Indeed, a call for fairness in demonstrations on Wall Street are met with cries of selfishness from many. Many do not see the role of government as a caring institution, but leave that to individuals who may be so called. Despite the fact that this would lead to massive hardship and the eventual death of people unable to care for themselves, there are many who believe that we are simply individuals, not a community.

All these things are disheartening to those of us who believe in truly loving our neighbor as the goal to which we are all called. So we stand and plead for others to come to the stance to which Christ calls us all: the Law of Love.

Curtis Rivers
10/16/11

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