The Greatest Commandments

From Matthew 22.36-40
One day when Jesus was teaching the crowds, and a man asked a really important question:
“Teacher,” he asked, “Which is the greatest of all the commandments in the law?”  Jesus answered, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind.’ This is the greatest commandment.  “The second important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’  The whole of the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Have a really good look at these commandments. Who receives our love:
– You probably spot straight away that we are to love God.
– You probably spot pretty quickly that we are to love others.
– But did you spot that we also have to learn to love ourselves?
If we have to love our neighbours as ourselves, then that only means anything if we actually do love ourselves.

Rules Game
Label three boxes as follows:
– Love God
– Love others
– Love yourself
Use post it notes to write down as many rules as you can think of – rules for crossing the street, rules in the house, rules for school, laws from the Bible, rules for when you are shopping etc.
Now decide which of the three boxes each of the rules should go in – it the rule more about loving God or loving others? or is it more about loving ourselves?
You will probably find that  you want to put most of your rules in all three boxes!
At first we thought Jesus had given two great commandments, then we found the third one (about loving ourselves) then it turned out that in the end, all three commandments were really one big one. 

Sharing the love
Take a piece of paper, and pretend that the four corners are the four corners of God’s love for the person holding the paper – how very blessed they are to have four whole corners of God’s love!
Now, think would would happen if they were to cut off one corner of that love and give it away. How many corners will they have left?
You would think it’s three, right?  You had four, you give one away, so you’re left with……
….try it, and you’ll find that you’re left with five corners, and the one you gave away has become three. That’s eight corners of God’s love where there were only four before! Keep sharing corners until you can’t count them any more. That’s what sharing God’s love is like.

Seeing the world as God sees it
Jesus didn’t so much want to teach his friends lots of little rules, he wanted them to understand the one really important rule – the rule of love.  And this isn’t so much a rule, it’s a way of seeing the world.  It’s actually how God sees the world.
To help you remember to look through the eyes of love, take a piece of paper (small – say, A6 size) and fold it in half (to make A7).  Then gently bend in the ‘flaps’ towards the fold, so you end up with a heart shape.  Use a second piece of paper to wrap round the middle of your ‘long’ heart shape, and secure it with sticky tape, and use stickers to decorate. As you look through your scope, everything is framed by love.
Use your ‘scope’ in your prayers:
Look through your scope as you look out of the window – try and see the trees as God sees them, the people passing by as God sees them, your neighbours’ house as God sees it….  Then look through your scope at the people in your own house, your family, and see them as God sees them.  Then look through your scope into a mirror, and see that God looks at you with love, too.

26th October 2014 02026th October 2014 021