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How Jesus wanted to make the faith pretty simple:

Each Sunday in Lent, we begin our worship with a recitation of the Ten Commandments. It's good to recall these ancient pillars of the Judeo-Christian faith, these "ten freedoms" that God, in God's wisdom, knows humanity needs in order to live fully and well.

However, thanks to the wisdom of the authors of the Book of Common Prayer, we always end our recitation of the Ten Commandments by hearing the "Summary of the Law" from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 29 --

"Jesus said, 'The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.'"

Do yourself (and those around you) a favor and don't let those words become rote, or go in and out without soaking in...because...

...when God became a human being and wanted to let humanity know what our highest priority in life ought to be, what did he say?

Shema -- "hear, listen, obey"

Hear...listen...obey, people of God: The Lord our God is the only Lord. (Don't let yourself be fooled into thinking other small-g-gods are the Lord.)

Hear...listen...obey, people of God: Love that Lord with everything you have: all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your brains, all of your might...with everything you have. (Go "all in" in your love for this Lord.)

That is the most important thing: To love the Lord God with everything you have. To love God, and to be marinated (not just glazed) in the Love of God.

The second most important thing is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Let that sink in: Jesus (God, in person) is saying, in effect, that no other law and no prophet's pronouncement -- no church's interpretation, no statement by anyone, past, present, or future, no priority, no discipline, no spiritual practice -- is more important or takes precedence over those two commandments.

In other words, Jesus wanted to make our faith pretty simple:

"Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself; all the rest is commentary."

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