I just need to get a quick survey. Where are the lawyers in the room I’ve got Where are the lawyers? So you only have two lawyers and the only two lawyers.
Okay. Because I have a question now, what do the words law and love have to do with each other? So if I may quote the wonderful Tina Turner, What’s love got to do with it? Got to do with it. What’s love? But a second hand emotion? Well, whenever you put the law and love together in a congregation where there may be more than two lawyers, but only two who will self-identify, you can run into problems.
But it’s easy to say that sometimes we may over use the word love. How often have we said I just love ravioli or I just love that Taylor Swift, She’s the best. How many of us have ever met Taylor Swift? We use love all of the time, and it’s the kind of word that we can use over and over again and then get pretty tired of it.
But on the other hand, we cannot dismiss the word either. It’s a little word when it’s used at certain times. It can touch our hearts when we use it. At other times, it can take away sadness. It can remind us of how alive we are. It can make us feel happy. Love is that kind of word that we can either make very trite or we can really use to describe our deepest feelings.
And in today’s gospel, love is really at the heart of the question. And that’s where law and love come together. Because in today’s gospel, they ask Jesus, they being the strides, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the disciples, really all of us ask the Lord what is the greatest commandment? What is the greatest law? No, we tend to think of the Ten Commandments, and they are ten very good ones.
However, they are only ten of 670 commandments in the Old Testament. How many of us know commandment number 670? We tend to forget about the rest. But what really is meant by the word commandment when we use it is how God has formed us to live together in community and how we as a community of faith are meant to ask and how we as God’s holy people are a group of apostles Disciples in mission I count list number four over 2000 years.
All of that is in the one word common. And if we make up one word law, it really cheapens the word. What Jesus is asking us to do then, is talk about how the law forms us to be lovers, lovers of God and lovers of one another, because that is exactly what Jesus did in today’s gospel. We are reminded that every one of the sermons that Jesus gave, every one of the miracles, every one of the parables really has at its heart one subject, the love of God, so that we can love God with all our hearts, with all our minds, with all our beings and living community as neighbors, loving one another.
So today, how are we doing? Loving our neighbor? Because Jesus adds a very important piece. We love our neighbor as ourselves, so that if we actually say we love our neighbor, we are actually saying we love ourselves. And at the same time, if we say there are those of our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, that we hate, what we’re really saying is that we ourselves and if we mistreat our neighbor, if we abuse our neighbor, if we go to war with our neighbor, we are going to war with ourselves.
And is that what we want as our message to the world? Because there is really only one kind of love, and that is the love that God has for us. There is no limit on God’s love for us. God never makes a choice to love us or not. When we use the word love and we add the word God, then what we’re saying is God loves me and I love God, my neighbor myself.
I simply love and we forget there’s not there’s no such thing as me. Just loving love is a verb. Love requires an object of the old English teacher comes out to me. We have to say, I love you. I love God, I love everyone. Love requires someone else to complete it. The first thing we have to know about love then, is how God loves us and how much God loves us.
And how do we know that all we have to do is look up above the altar. There is Christ crucified. That’s how much God loves us. God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to the world to save us. That’s how we understand what love really means. So that when we say, What’s love got to do with it, got to do with it, and what has love got to do with the law?
There it is. When we feel before the Lord and we pray for this one great gift. What we really are asking for is respect respect for one another. We pray that we will realize our human dignity and the dignity of every one of our brothers and sisters. And that when I realize that you are loved by God, that you have dignity, what am I really saying?
That God loves me, that I have human dignity, and that is the beginning of humility and the love of God. It’s all around us every single day. We can treat each other with kindness, with charity, with love. We can show our concern out of our desire to understand how much God loves us and how much we are worth.
What’s love got to do with it? Got to do with it. It’s so important that it makes all of the difference in the world. We can have every nice thing. We could go on every great vacation and we can obey every law of the 670. But if we really don’t have love, then we will never know really who our God is and how much God shows us mercy, compassion and forgiveness.
That’s how we are disciples in mission. That’s how we journey together to the Kingdom of God. And so how many commandments are there to God? 670. What’s law got to do with it? Everything. Because law really means we know how to be God’s family in God’s community, gather together to love God and neighbor. And so as we go to the Eucharist now, let us pray for that grace to truly understand God’s love for us so that we might love one another through Christ Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.