GodsBigBlog: Love God . . . OK, but How?

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

The first and greatest commandment, says Jesus, is to love God.

But how do we do that?

With warm fuzzy feelings? With praise and gratitude? With prayers for help in times of trouble (the kind that acknowledges our extreme dependence on God)? With good deeds? A careful conscience? By being “neither partial to the poor nor deferential to the great in our politics”?

How does God want to be loved?

I wonder whether Leviticus 19:2 is meant to be a clue: “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.”

In other words, do we love God by being more like God?

Or something like that?


Lectionary: Pentecost 19 Proper 25, RCL-A:

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18
Psalm 1

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Matthew 22:34-46


“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:

“Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.“You shall not render an unjust judgment; neither partial to the poor, nor deferential to the great . . .”   – Leviticus 19:1-2,15

“When the Pharisees heard that Jesus ha silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’”    – Matthew 22:34-40

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One Comment

  1. Barbara
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    I’m listening to some old lectures by Alan Watts from the ’60s. He says the commandment to love God has to be understood as a koan — a meditation, a spiritual puzzle.

    That’s because we don’t honestly love God, we love ourselves, and we are disingenuous when we claim to love God. We only do it because “He’s the boss.” —Barbara

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© 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Barbara Falconer Newhall. and www.GodsBigBlog.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog's author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that full and clear credit is given to Barbara Falconer Newhall and www.GodBigBlog.com with appropriate and specifc direction to the original content. Bible texts are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA. The Psalms are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979. Material originally published and copyrighted by the Oakland Tribune is posted here by permission. WordPress theme adapted from Thematic Theme Framework