What is the greatest commandment?

My faith tradition is struggling with how to deal with issues of sexuality, in particular homosexuality as it relates to marriage and ministerial authority. Because of that, we have been asked to spend intentional time with God, seeking to discern “what matters most.”

As you can imagine, there are a number of different issues that could take up our time! And they are all important issues.

Yet every time I think about that question–“What matters most?”–I keep coming back to the time when someone tried to trip up Jesus by asking him, “Which commandment is the greatest?”

Jesus’ response was, “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.” Quite often we stop at this point in the reading, but I think the most important sentence is the one that follows: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

In other words, everything that we spend time fighting over–all the “thou shalts” and the “thou shalt nots”–can be boiled down to these two commands.

That doesn’t mean that we’re necessarily going to agree with each other. We probably won’t. That’s part of the joy–and the challenge!–of our diversity.

But can we learn to see each other as people of great worth? to allow each person their personal relationship with the Creator? to recognize that each one of us sees a part of the whole…and it’s as we learn to live with each other that we can put all the puzzle pieces together?

There are difficult questions that have no easy answers. But for me…what matters most is doing my best to live out in my own life these two commandments–and letting God work within that framework.

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