Once, an expert in the law, tested Jesus with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:35-40
J.R.R. Tolkien, creating perhaps one of the greatest fictional tomes ever written, “The Lord of the Rings,” describes a quest to destroy a magical ring of immeasurable power that controls and masters all others. The famous description of that ring can be summed up in one short phrase, “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” Of course, the master ring is filled with all manner of evil and malice, and destroys, not only all its enemies, but even the one who wields it.
Set that in contrast to what we know as the Great Commandment. The one master commandment that sums up and supersedes all other commandments, that, when carried out to its fullest, brings forth not darkness, but light, and rather than destruction, great blessing to all the world.
As we watch the world around us teeter on the brink of chaos and destruction, it seems all too often that we have strayed too far from the basics. That we have paid more attention to our modern-day pundits, to our sciences, and our technologies, even that we have created for ourselves our own gods and idols that give us permission to do whatever it is we wish to do. It is almost as if we have replaced God with other, more pleasing choices, relegating God to some dusty old shelf in the garage, forgotten and ignored. But what if we were to take God down off of that shelf, examine God’s commands and laws, and discover there, the answer we had forgotten, the answer we have been seeking all along?
I am convinced that a careful study, or perhaps, re-study, of God’s most basic laws and commands just might still be the answer we need. In a world of chaos and confusion, the clarity of God’s simple, yet all-encompassing commands just might serve to bind us back together, and bring us back into the light. And it all starts with one simple rule – Love God and Love Neighbor.
One God to rule us all, one God to find us, One God to return us all, and in the brightness bind us.
May returning to the basics of God’s Rule #1 bring us all into the light.
Join us in worship as we begin a new sermon series, “Rule #1 and the Ten Commandments,” as we rediscover that returning back to the basics is just what we need.
Blessings my sisters and brothers,