Just look around you. Almost all our troubles are the result of ignoring the one reason for, and the basic aim of, all being, all existence, all life.
“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.”
It is totally outgoing. It is totally encompassing. It is totally fulfilling.
Why is this the greatest of the commandments?
God – the Creator, is the source of all existence. God is the beginning and the end of all creation. Everything comes from God and returns to God. Outside of God nothing exists or can exist.
This commandment or teaching or instruction is not God being selfish or self – centred. It is a simple fact of existence. It cannot be otherwise. It is simply the truth.
To ‘love the Lord my God with all my heart’ is not about feelings and emotions which come and go – are here today and gone tomorrow (although these can sometimes be involved).
Nor is it about praying and other cultic acts and devotions (again, these can sometimes be involved).
To ‘love the Lord my God with all my heart’ is primarily an act of humility. A recognition of the truth – that all I am and have is a free gift from my Creator. Whether I like it of not I owe God everything.
It means that I owe all the works of God’s hand – all of creation – the very same care and respect which I expect for myself. This must not only involve respect and care for myself but also for my family, friends, neighbours, fellow human beings, all living things, the seas, the mountains the lands the forests and everything they contain. This, involving truth and the way things are, is the only way to permanent peace, happiness and contentment at the deepest level. Seeking these things outside of these parameters brings only fleeting peace and momentary happiness.
It involves an ongoing struggle to comprehend God and creation while recognising and accepting human inability to fully understand or explain the whys and wherefores of creation.
It is not really possible for human beings to love an invisible, untouchable, incomprehensible, infinite God. We love God by respecting, appreciating and caring for his creation – fellow human beings and all things animate and inanimate.
Hence the second command (instruction), is like the first; ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’
Is it really possible for me to love my God and be unaware of – ignore – the suffering of His children?
Is it really possible for me to love my God and ignore the devastation Hi’s creation is being subjected to all over the world?
This is what true religion is primarily about.
I are inclined to, and often encouraged to, immerse myself in prayer and various devotions and cultic acts of worship, while sidestepping the real meaning of loving God and my neighbour.
I wouldn’t like the words of Jesus of Nazareth, spoken to the Scribes and Pharisees, to be applied to me also; ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!’