...gonna kick the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight... musings of a hungarian in texas

©2003 by Annamaria Kovacs. All contents of this blog are the property of the author. Use with written permission only.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Words of the Week

We are back; not sure how often yet, but as 2008 starts, it is time to think again. Here is this week's food for thought--my thanks to the Hungarian Reformed Church's homepage for guiding me every week!

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and
with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great
commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself. “(Matthew 22:37-39)

Duality is one of the most fundamental building stones of human existence. Someone of the world—the world itself. Life, and death. Heaven and earth, day and night, winter and summer, and so forth. And at the end of all this, there is the basic duality: God and Man. Creator and created.

God does not want to Be without Man: this is the message of the biblical passage above. The Love of God cannot exist without the love of Man. Just like Michelangelo’s painting in the Sixtine Chapel depicts: God pushes his love into this world. He pushes the existence with him into this world. He pushes Himself into this world so He does not exist outside of it, in solitude.
Let us look at this passage in its entirety now. Both commandments that Jesus quotes exist in the Old Testament—but separately, unconnected. Love God and love your neighbor. He connects the two with that half sentence: And the second is like unto it. Let’s repeat that—Jesus put these two commandments together, next to each other. It is his teaching, his thought that the love of God is similar to the love of Man.

In the teachings of the Jewish faith it is said that God and our neighbor also should be loved, but the two are never said to be alike. It is only the radical teachings of Jesus that bring the two onto the same level, so to speak. If we really think about it, it is something profoundly deep, and thus very, very difficult to understand and accept. Our own horizontal world and connections to everyone around us mirror our vertical world and connections to God. We often say: yes, our heart needs to change, I need to give myself fully to God to serve Him. And this is true. But Jesus only says about this type of love: you are close to God’s realm. You don’t fully grasp it yet, you don’t quite ‘get it’. The substance of that realm is the equity between the love of God and the love of Man. That these two directions of our life should meet. That we discover: our love of God is the mirror of our love of Man. And these two, the vertical and horizontal, should meet in their axis, in their point of origin, at the gate of God’s realm—at the cross of Jesus. Because in Him, the relationships are the same, whether towards king or servant. In Him, we have a Servant-King and a King-Servant—God made Man. The two are similar. This is the heart of the gospel.

So what does this actually mean? None other than when I love God with all of my heart, soul and mind, that is, on all levels of my existence, this is nothing else, none other than the mirror image of how I love my fellow human beings. When I say or think ’I like others, I just don’t understand why THAT one sits next to me, works at the next desk or cubicle, lives with me or next door’, then I basically say that I don’t believe the other person is just like me. But what I also say is that my love of God is just that picky. I do not love God for Himself, but because I got this and this and this from him (substitute health, wealth, children, spouse, etc.)

The same way, when we say we ‘love God but we don’t understand why he does this and this and this’ (substitute hardship, illness, loss of loved ones, wars, marital strife etc.) –it reveals that we don’t love that person next to us for him/or herself. It is frightening to think, isn’t it, that this is just like a scale: when the balance is off on one side, the other side moves too. They are mirror images of each other.

Has anyone thought about it before He came to the world; that Creation will happen again? Just like God divided His love because he did not want to be alone, thus creating Man, likewise one day He emptied Himself of Life again,--and he gave It for us. He did not want to be alone, without us, the prodigal sons. And as He came after us to bring us back to His home, the similarity between God and Man, the miracle of miracles, the meeting surpassing our finite imaginations, could happen.


At 11:38 AM, Anonymous lizardqueen said...

This teaching has always been a hard one to practice, as it is oh-so-very-human to only love the like-able... which makes Biblical stories like Abraham and Isaac, Job, even Mary (before Joseph got visited by the angel), and Christ's crucifixion oh-so-hard to understand, as God, using merely human standards, is not that like-able.

For many, God is just a down-right *monster* (I'm reading Pullman's _His Dark Materials_ so this thought's fresh in my mind).

And let's not mention folks who don't seem to really love themselves, with self-destructive thoughts, self-destructive behaviors.

Or, worse, in the name of God, wreak destruction on themselves on on others.

Our world, as technologically-advanced in the 21st century as it is, I think needs this Biblical message more and more each day.


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