…and all the other commandments are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:9-10)
It’s all summed up in one word: love. Paul even clarifies it, in an emphatic way, as if to say no matter what else is out there, no matter what laws are written and spoken, they are ALL summed up in the command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” And if we recall, Jesus also unequivocally spoke to exactly who are ‘neighbors’ are: anyone we see or know of in need, whether those who are like us or those who are not. Remember, in the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25), Jesus said the only difference between the sheep and the goats was what they did and did not do (in love) to the poor.
You could call love the Executive Summary to the Thesis on what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
The word “sum/summed” comes from the feminine Latin word meaning “highest.” That is poignant, the sum of the Christian life is not reductionism, or love reduced to the lowest common denominator; it is the Highest. Love is the calling and to become the Beloveds is the answer – to be so full of the love of Jesus that we start to become love itself.
God is love and to love in God’s name is to imitate God.
Love sums it up.
Love is the highest summation of how God responds to us, and how we are to respond to God, and subsequently how we are to respond to each other – in love, with love, and by love.
And make no mistake about it, love is an action verb, much like God (yes, God is a Verb as well as a Noun). This relentlessly loving God is a God Who proactively sought us out, and continues to seek us. God as Creator, created this world out of love, one that is dynamic not static. And our relationship to this God is meant to be the same – dynamic love rather than static rote.
Far too often, if I am honest, my relationship with Jesus is sometimes more of an historical fact than a dynamic, loving relationship. And so it goes for my loving my neighbor…I often point to what I have done, or how I used to live, rather than what I am today, or how I am living today. Love is a baptism, one of fire and water that washes away the brokenness, the sin, the resentments, the little angers and self-righteousness I clutch and cling to, in the quiet places in my heart, refusing to let God’s love tenderize or pulverize them into pure, divine love.
I am learning, albeit slower than I’d prefer, that if the love of God abides is abiding in my heart, then love is indeed the answer. Love becomes the All. Love becomes the question. Love becomes the reason.
Turn everything over to the love of God. When we are in doubt, turn it over to God’s love; when in anger, turn it over to love; when in fear, turn it over to love; when in pain, turn it over to divine love; when in darkness or joy, and turn it over to God’s love.
Let Love become the movement and the motion; let God’s love become the very fabric of our being.
So my prayer for all of us is that our lives may be summed up by one word: LOVE.