Wednesday, June 18, 2008


When the Pharisees heard that he had 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 neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hand all the law and the prophets.”
Matthew 22:34-40

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall 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, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbour as oneself,’ — this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
Mark 12:28-34

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
Luke 10:25-28

Three things. Attend to your relationship with God. Attend to your relationship with your community. Attend to your relationship with those other communities that live alongside your community.

Three things. God’s blueprint, Jesus’ priority-list, for living life well.

We can visualise these three connected relationships by drawing an equilateral triangle: the top representing God (UP), the left corner representing us (IN), and the right corner representing our neighbour (OUT). This gives us a framework to consider: are we attending to all three areas, or are we neglecting one, or more?

We might start with a very simple articulation of these three relationships – e.g. worship, fellowship, mission – and flesh-out what we understand these things to mean.

In fact we can lay this triangular framework on each of these initial articulations, to help flesh them out. Let’s take worship as our example:

UP: do we just talk (sing, etc.) to God, or take time to listen to God too?

IN: does our corporate worship include and involve the different gifts God has given to each one of us, or only those of a few? does our practice of worship build each other up, or are we seeking to exalt ourselves over each other?

OUT: does our practice of worship include bringing before God the needs of our neighbour? does our experience of worship result in our attitude towards our neighbour (including our enemy) becoming more like Christ’s; and send us out to love and serve and show mercy to our neighbour?

But we can lay this framework over any aspect of life, both individual and communal, as a blueprint for living well: how might it apply, in practice, to running a household; establishing a business; being an employee?

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