The bible is very easy to understand. But...[t]ake any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world...
~ Søren Kierkegaard* [1813-1855]
Jesus said, "The First Commandment is this: Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. [Mark 12:29-31]
Dear Jesus ~
I don't have any idea when I last examined my relationship with the Commandments. I know that I haven't killed anyone or stolen anything (well, nothing very big and not since I was a kid). But then You already know what I have and haven't done.
I go through each day, week, month, and year and just assume I'm doing reasonably ok as a Christian. Well, actually, I don't really think about it at all; I just wander through time doing everyday stuff and as life goes, some days are better than others and I do better on some days than I do on others. It's time, now, to look closer at how I know that I love God and all of my neighbors and, how I act upon that love. Dear Jesus, help me to Love. Give me the compassion, the empathy, the humility to live into all that I profess to believe. It is a struggle, each and every day, to be intentional and conscious of being a Christian with all that You expect of me and all that represents to the world. It's very hard work. So, please, please, I need all the help You can give me, and I will work at being better at Love (with a capital L as in Christian Love). amen.
and also Love:
Thy Hispanic Neighbor
Thy Hindu Neighbor
Thy Asian Neighbor
Thy Poor Neighbor
Thy Rich Neighbor
Thy Elderly Neighbor
Thy Teenaged Neighbor
Thy Terrible-Twos Neighbor
Thy Terrible Parent Neighbor
Thy Thoughtless Next-Door Neighbor
Thy Driver-on-the-Road Neighbor
Thy Cranky Neighbor
Thy Mentally Ill Neighbor
and all of Thy Other Neighbors
*Søren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and wrote extensively on Christian Ethics, psychology, and the philosophy of Religion. He often focused on personal choice and commitment and the art of Christian love. He was a strong critic of some of his philosopher contemporaries such as Swedenborg, Hegel, Goethe, and Hans Christian Anderson. It is impossible to distill his vast work into a small space as his work continues to influence the discussions of intellectuals and religious philosophers to this day. Fear and Trembling and Either/Or are only two of his most well-known works still being read.
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