What an amazing fair we had this past weekend! I thank God for all who coordinated, helped and attended. The rain brought us indoors where we were able to experience an intimacy in fellowship that is often not as easy when we are outdoors and spread so far apart. Yet the rain was a deep reminder of God’s abundance – that our earth has been sustained, fed, and indeed loved.
What a beautiful picture – a tree that is deeply rooted – a tree that will not decay as it receives God’s loving water. It will bear fruit and prosper. Its leaves are the source of the fresh air we breathe. A deeply rooted tree offers us shade and even shelter from the rain and the sun that nourish it.
I wonder how we can each be a tree like that? We know that God’s desire is that we bear fruit and prosper. God gives us a pathway in Psalm 1: When we delight in the law of the Lord, we too become like the trees planted by streams of water. We bear fruit. Our leaves do not wither because our roots are deep.
This week’s Gospel contains the summary of the law, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all lived and loved like that?
We often think of love as simply an emotion – something soft, huggable and often subject to change. This, in fact, is a diminished view of love. Today’s lectionary places “loving God” in the context of a command. We not only feel love in our hearts, but we are commanded to love in the fullest measure. Wholehearted love comes from our minds and our souls as well as our hearts. The "love" that is being called for is not emotion; it is not "liking," "getting along with," "desiring," or "feeling warm about." The "love" Jesus is talking about here is trust, loyalty, enduring devotion, being attached to. Loving in this way becomes a decision.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3). God’s love is indeed everlasting and abundant. We become rooted in God’s love as we grow in our relationship with God and with others through worship, prayer, community and connections. God’s love becomes an extension of our very selves. As we nurture our relationship with God and each other, we will see that, despite worldly beliefs, we will always have more than enough to share.
In God’s Abundant Love,