Friday in the Third Week of Lent

by Kate Rutherford

abstract art

Which commandment is the first of all?

Jesus answered, The first is this, Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this,
You shall love your neighbor as
yourself.

Many years ago, I worked on a therapeutic team on a psychiatric unit in a small hospital in Massachusetts. The head psychiatrist would reply, when we reported on what the patients were telling us, “It’s not what they say, it’s what they do.” I have relied on that wisdom to name my own resistances and to understand others’.

Sitting with the New Testament reading made me realize the I have many assumptions about it, having heard it and read it many times over the past seven decades. I appreciate the opportunity to think more deeply about it, rather than just saying, “Oh, of course it is and I do.”

For now, at least, I understand that Jesus’ reply to the Scribe’s question is my primary purpose as a Christian today and I realize that my actions often belie my words, and I suspect I am not alone. I often feel like Peter, denying Christ when I turn to anger, cynicism or fear.

Closing down, battening the hatches, running away, denies God’s eternal love for me and for all humanity — something that was modeled for me at my baptism and I am reminded of that each time we renew our Baptismal Covenant which we will do again at the Easter Vigil.

I pray that I may keep my deep love for God as the center of my life and flowing from that: right action to love another as I am loved.