The final word

Love – the last debate – has the last word.  We are coming to the end of the book of Mark and the author, John Mark’s, recording of Jesus’ last confrontation with Pharisees and Sadducees.  A woman outlives seven brothers who she was been passed down to as the previous one died and so the question – whose wife will be in eternity.  Another teacher of the law, observing the interchange about legalities, goes the heart of the debate, “What is the most important commandment?”  For many, this summary is their key understanding of Jesus.  Jesus quotes the Shema, “Hear of Israel, the Lord our God is one. 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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:29)”

         In our world of demonstrations and advocacy that often turns ugly and violent or faced with movies of love and leave, we easily become confused, perhaps cynical.  If all parties agree, can we do anything we want that feels like love?  The tension between love and law is real.  Often the motives of the heart can be discerned by the actions of the person, how we treat our neighbor.  But most often it is a much murkier situation that our great courts are divided about.  I find it not surprising that Mark does not end his story with this scene but continues on to tell of the journey to the cross by Jesus.  Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and we will start that journey, practicing the Lenten disciplines of heightened prayer, fasting, self-denial, reading – purposeful acts that help us focus on our spiritual journey with Jesus.

         Love may not end in a happy-ever-after scenario but often it ends with a trial and a cross.  Love is not easy and not always pretty.  As we ponder our “loves” today, perhaps empty our refrigerator of tempting snacks, decide what to add or give up for the next forty days, consider how to be marked with the cross during Covid, may we focus on the God who incarnated in Jesus and walked the walk and talked the talk and passed through death that we might have eternal life and live with eternal love!  Blessings.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: