love– and truth (“All You Need is Love” means more than often meets the eye)

Sometimes when I am particularly impressed with a verse or passage (I’m in the book of Proverbs right now) I simply want to camp there for a while and meditate or ponder the thought, and just kind of dwell in it. So there are passages I spend longer time on than others. But by and by I realize that  I need the whole, and so I keep on moving, regardless of whether or not the rest is hitting me in the same way. I think one can get a sense of how long to camp on something before they are to go on. It’s certainly true that we do well to remain on something for a time, perhaps a word that we especially need.

One of the primary emphases, in fact I would say the most important of all in terms of our character in attitude and action is the need of loving God with all our being and doing, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. This according to Jesus is the first and great commandment, along with the second which is like it. So first we love God supremely and second, with that we love our neighbor as ourselves. Of course it goes without saying that we don’t actually measure up. And so regular confession and ongoing repentance is necessary. I’m not saying there may be instances in which by God’s grace through the Spirit we might at least enter deeply into fulfilling that, even if unlike Jesus we don’t complete it. Of course the real and true test is how we live over the long haul in everyday life.

And so when I read a passage highlighting our need for love, for grace and mercy with reference to others, or certain other passages more along that line, for example God’s own priorities for the poor and the oppressed, as well as God’s grace given to those who humble themselves in view of their need, I want to take careful note of it so that I can prayerfully integrate it into my own life or simply to grow in that regard. But I have to press on, seeing the rest of scripture in terms of that.

Of course we Christians read scripture through the fulfillment we believe has happened in Jesus. It brings the story to a completion which carries on now. And we read all of scripture in that light. The point here is that we can’t simply dwell on one point, as front and center as it is. To understand that point in a fuller way, we must press on and read the rest. All of scripture, no less. We need it all.