Matthew 22:36-40 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The command to love is an often cited one when it comes to the Christian life and what it should look like. Love, however, is often conflated with emotion and feeling in our culture. Love in the Bible is an action, love is our response to being loved by God and being witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. So if love is an action, what does it look like? We could turn to 1 Corinthians and the often used recitation describing love read at weddings. We can look at the life of Jesus and see how he treated people; friend and stranger, neighbor and enemy. In light of it being the season of Easter and keeping in mind that May ends with the celebration of Pentecost, I want us to consider what love looks like through the lens of the Church shortly after Easter, directly following Pentecost.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
In this passage we are told briefly of the life of the Church and in this description shown how they are fulfilling the commandments to love God and love neighbor.
We are told that they (the Church) devoted themselves to apostolic teaching, to breaking bread (often interpreted to mean the Lord’s Supper), to prayer, praise, and to worship in the Temple. In all of these ways the Church was loving God as a faithful community.
Similarly we are told that the Church was devoted to fellowship, to holding common property, to redistributing their resources so everyone had what they needed. Here they show their love for one another and especially for the needy among and around them.
These may seem like obvious ways in which the church, and thus all Christians, are called to love, but to make and keep this as our life is a challenge which never lets up. Our constant call as disciples is that of love, which necessitates the continued commitment of relationship with God and one another. And in those relationships we are called to worship and prayer, to fellowship, common life together and the redistribution of resources to those in need, and to the Word and Sacraments.
Friends, this is our work and our calling. This is our past, our present, and our future. May we never lose sight of the love we have been shown and the love we are to show. Praise be to God who is not only loving, but is love.