First Things First

March 28, 2019


As we near the end of the season of Lent, a simple but often-forgotten point today: 


We are reminded each Sunday in Lent that Jesus summarized the law -- not only all the commandments, but all the Law and the Prophetic sayings -- by saying 


"The first commandment is this: 

Hear, O Israel, 

the Lord your God is the only Lord. 


Love the Lord your God with all your heart, 

with all your soul, 

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." (From Mark: 12:29-31). 


This whole season of Lent, we've been emphasizing the customary "disciplines" of Lent, and pointing out that the root of the word "discipline" is the same as "disciple."  Some common synonyms for "disciple" are "follower," "adherent," or "devotee."  I think the best synonym for "disciple," however, is "apprentice" -- someone who attaches him- or herself to someone for a time as a trainee or mentee in order to learn new things and pick up new skills.  The purpose of Lent -- like the purpose of Sunday morning worship, daily Bible reading, prayer, and any other spiritual practice -- is to provide us opportunities to apprentice ourselves to the God-love life that Jesus pioneered and perfected. 


In other words, Lent, Sunday morning worship, daily Bible reading, and prayer should be turning us into people who love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. 


If our Lenten disciplines, Sunday morning worship, daily Bible reading, and other spiritual practices are doing that, then they're working as intended! 


If they're not, they're not working as intended -- and addressing (and fixing) that should itself be our highest spiritual priority for the rest of Lent (and throughout Easter and forward). Because 


"The first commandment is this:  Hear, O Israel,  the Lord your God is the only Lord.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart,  with all your soul,  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."  See you Sunday, 


John 

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