At the risk of dating myself, do any of you remember the old song that Dionne Warwick sang in 1966:
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.â€¦
Jesus , when asked by the Pharisee, what the greatest commandment is resounds with the Shema. The Shema is said everyday in the Jewish community. It is akin to the Our Father for us. The greatest commandment is to love God above everything. What does it mean to love God? I think is is total dedication to Him. Love is not a feeling. It is a commitment.
I love to eat chocolate chip cookies, but that feeling goes away when I am hungry again. Also, if I eat too many, than I am putting my health and waistline at risk. To love God is to actively commit ourselves everyday, every hour, every moment to God. It is not dependent our our feelings. God’s love is incarnate in Jesus; God gave us everything he could give us; his very self. Why would Jesus go the Cross if not for Love? I think what we need to teach our young people is about God’s abiding love. We need to help them (and ourselves) commit our entire life’s to God.
But, the Shema and Jesus don’t stop there. After, we commit ourselves to love of God, we commit our selves to love all people. It is very clear who our neighbor is:
Isaiah is quite clear:
Do not molest an alien..remember you were aliens in Egypt
There are no strangers in the Christian Community
God loves each of us equally; saint and sinner
We need to ask ourselves who is the alien among us; the stranger,
the person who needs us
You shall not wrong the orphan and the widow. Remember there was no Social Security, no Food Stamps, no governmental assistance. A widow had no standing in society..she was dependent on her family and friends to survive and if they didn’t take care of her, then she could starve, or have to beg, or worse
Who are the widows and orphans among us?
Who do we as a church community need to reach out toâ€¦..who has no one?
Finally, the Love that God shares us with us and calls us to share with othersâ€¦.it is a call to justice. Justice meaning everyone is treated with fairly. To take someone’s cloak and not return it, is equal to making someone sleep on the street; hopefully over a subway grate; if there is one. If not, the person will sleep on the cold hard ground.
Granted we need to prudent with our sharing, but we can take care of the homeless and poor in many different ways.
Finally, we are called to love our selvesâ€¦â€¦this is to see ourselves as God sees us. Too many times, we cant love ourselves because of old messages that say we are not worth anything or because we don’t feel like we deserve anything. This is not how God sees us. God looks at us, even in our sinfulness and shortcomings, and sees himself. We are told in Genesis that each human person is created in the image of God. Our love of self and others is the rooted in the divine image within.
So maybe, Dionne Warwick had it right. The world needs loveâ€¦â€¦..from you and me