Even though this passage was easy to memorize as a child, it confounded me. How could I love God when I couldn’t see, hear, or touch God? Years later as a teenager I discovered that God was love, and if we loved each other we loved God. Now, as an adult I am beginning to understand the beauty and simplicity of this passage.
We are created in God’s image—imago Dei. As a matter of fact, we see God’s imprint on all the created order. The Lord our God is one. All living things are part of that oneness. We are all connected like a body with many parts, all holy and sacred. Think about that. We. Are. All. Connected. The great I Am of God continues in our own small version of I Am. All of creation reflects God’s nature and sovereignty.
Loving others begins with our capacity to love ourselves—not in a selfish, egotistical way but with a sense of deep compassion for our own humanity, warts and all. By being tender with ourselves we can be tender with others. After all, we are spiritual beings, one with God, having a human experience. At this moment are you willing to love and accept yourself no matter what?
When I can acknowledge my belovedness, I can recognize it in you as well. That fulfills this commandment: To love God is to love ourselves. To love our neighbors is to love God. In this we live into God’s reign.
Breathe the Spirit of love into your heart space. Imagine your heart opening wider as you breathe in. Allow that love to enter every capillary of your body.
Breathe in love; exhale love. Embody love. You are love. You are loving. You are lovable. Share that love with others.
Ruth and Psalm 146 share a thematic connection. Ruth is a foreigner who decides to follow the God of the Israelites, and the psalmist praises God for being the trustworthy God who cares about the poor, the oppressed, and the foreigner. In Ruth, Boaz will demonstrate this kind of care for her. The New Testament readings focus on sacrifice. Hebrews teaches us that Christ was both the greatest high priest and the eternal sacrifice. A scribe in Mark receives praise from Jesus, for he understands that the sacrificial system was less weighty than the act of loving one’s neighbor. Ruth and this scribe are examples of those, named and anonymous, who have come before us in the faith. We celebrate them on All Saints Day.
• Read Ruth 1:1-18. When have you left the familiar behind to set out into the unknown? Where did you experience God’s presence and help?
• Read Psalm 146. When you have found yourself in despair about the world, where have you witnessed God’s work that brings you hope?
• Read Hebrews 9:11-14. How willing are you to release your bag of sins and shortcomings to Jesus?
• Read Mark 12:28-34. In what ways do you understand yourself as a spiritual being having a human experience? What does that mean to you?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.