This weekend we will be taking a little pause in our new #exodusseries to remember some of Christ’s most important words.

In all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke), when he is asked what is the greatest of all the commandments, Jesus responds with two: love God and love your neighbor. No, this is not a rhetorical trick. Instead, Christ is pointing us towards a much more important truth.

At the heart of God’s relationship with humanity is this essential understanding: you cannot love God while not loving your neighbors. To put it another way, in loving your neighbors you are loving God. In other words, it is one commandment after all.

Our neighbors are not just the literal ones two doors down. They are our family. They are our friends. Yes, they are those living right next door. But they are also those who are quite different from us.

The short version is that everyone is our neighbor. Every single other human on this planet.

In the same way, the love that Christ speaks of is not the same love that we celebrate on Valentine’s Day or some wishy-washy claim to care when it seems prudent.

Jesus speaks of God’s love.

Love that serves others, even at cost to one’s self. Love that will never intimidate, play mind games, manipulate, or belittle. Love that empowers all who touch it to change the world. Love that will not allow unkind words, shallow thoughts, or hate-filled actions to stand. Love that does all in its power to see God’s purposes fulfilled.

That is what our guest preacher this weekend, Ken Lynch, will be discussing in greater depth with us.

My prayer for all of us over this holiday weekend is that we will be safe, that we will be kind, and that we will love with all that we have and are.

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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