What does it mean to love God? How can I love somebody I don’t know? I have no face to recall, no memories to replay. I only have what I’ve been taught, what I’ve read, and my own life experiences.

In my explorations I have found Many names or explanations for God. In the religious context, there is God, or Heavenly Father & Heavenly Mother. But then there is “Source”, The storehouse of knowledge and wisdom (Napoleon Hill), Universe. Perhaps one of my favorites comes from some Native American Cultures which refer to God as “The Great Mystery”. I believe thats appropriate.

Ive heard the stories of Jesus and his life and seen the movies portrayed with different iterations of Jesus actors. Every Christmas season it almost feels overwhelming and hard to feel sincerely interested in a story you have heard so often. I can only watch Star Wars so many times and still find entertainment in it. (And I am a fan…)

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandments were, he said:

“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 the second is like it: ‘You should love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” -Luke 10:27

So apparently figuring this out is kind of important if all universal laws hang on it. It must be worth investing some time into. I don’t pretend to have the answer, and I found myself wondering how to make things feel a little bit more real and personal. Here are some of my thoughts:

I recently read a story about a man who believed he acted by his own merit and had no need for a God. He then asked God to relinquish any help he offered to him, so that he could prove it. God obliged, and upon doing so, the man became a useless heap of tissue, bones, and clothing without a proper shape and completely unable to do anything. The man was then restored and realized how little he actually did and how dependent on God he actually was. (It was in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, though I can’t remember which book)

This story caused me to reflect on how much of my own bodies functioning may actually be regulated and orchestrated by God without any conscious effort on my part. Sure I can take my lungs off of auto-pilot, and control my breathing, but when I get a scratch do I need to send white blood cells to the location to battle infection and create a scab? Do I tell my stomach when i eat some food to turn on the bile production to begin to break it down? The more I thought about it the more I realized just how much was me and how much was just handled for me, or… God.

And the miracle of just lifting a single arm, how much of that is actually me? I get to pull the lever as if I were entrusted to pilot some dump truck or something, but all that goes on on a cellular level of that single effort, all the thousands of tissues and tendons and muscles contracting, energy distribution, and coordinated effort it takes just for me to, say, grab a cup out of the cupboard is enormous. It’s a completely coordinated and controlled effort, and happens so often I think we often feel entitled to such actions and functions and count them off as part of ourselves. Who or what causes the heart to beat?

Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that this must be the efforts of this Great Mystery, or God.

All the cells of my body have a purpose and a function. Some very different from others but all necessary for the organism to thrive and have this life experience. Some are smaller simpler cells, and some are part of complex organs and systems with many functions. All necessary… yet all very different. But all are a part of “Me”.

I then started to think about the similarities between my body, and the world, full of all people. There are many diverse cultures, communities, beliefs, vocations, hobby’s, passions. All have an effect on the whole, or at least the potential to affect others. Each person certainly has an influence within their own circles. There is a universal law that goes something like: If you set out to do something for the benefit of others, with good intentions, you will succeed. In business this is called identifying a problem and solving that problem. It’s almost like the David and Goliath story, David succeeded because he knew it was beneficial for his people and trusted the law that gave him help in his desires because he was doing something beneficial.

Well what if loving your neighbor as yourself quite literally means you see the vision, that we are all interconnected almost like the cells of the body, inhabiting the body of Mother Earth. We should all be engaged in efforts to make the organism as a whole more healthy, happier, to alleviate suffering wherever / however we can, to lift others up, and as a result, we all benefit. Just like a white blood cell fighting overtime during a trauma to the body, fighting off intruders that could make it sick, we should all be trying to do the same for the same reasons. The benefit of the whole.

I believe the gospel is more universal than we have considered. It’s not just something we do one day a week to give us meaning and deal with all the suffering and grinding away at our lives and a way to explain off having hard things come up…. But if properly lived I believe everybody would be a lot happier as a whole.

God or Source inspires everybody, artists, musicians, architects, entrepreneurs, Religious leaders, Teachers, scientists, etc. And if any one of these types of people were to apply the law, to look for ways to use their talents for the good of the whole, than they are given success (So long as they maintain a will to continue, I think of Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings here… He had many opportunities to quit but he saw the mission through to the end.)

There is another law that states whenever we serve somebody, we naturally love them more. This makes perfect sense for parents, we naturally love our own children and it’s hard to find a love that even compares. Especially when children are so dependent on you in their earliest years, they are helpless on their own and depend on you for everything. As you serve them you create a bond and love them immensly. After realizing this, I realize that God or Source does so much for us that it’s impossible for God or Source to not love us. Every breath of life, every heart beat, every good desire and spark of a good idea or a goal that fires us up and gives us purpose and meaning. “Love” is one of the definitions for God for a reason.

So how do we align with the first great commandment? How do we love God? Well, we can start by acknowledging just how much God does and how little we actually do. When was the last time we felt gratitude for experiencing an enjoyable smell or fragrance, or took a bite of something especially enjoyable? Do we thank God for our breath? Do we show appreciation for all the things going right in our lives? Or do we just shake our fists at the sky for all that is seemingly going wrong? Maybe God is not the one raining down punishments, but trying to help you to see and understand the laws that need to be followed and utilized to enable God to give you bigger and better things to experience.

If we have a child that we just did 5 favors for, and they are complaining and begging for another privilege and start saying “This is isn’t fair”, are we usually enthusiastic about running to their aid and giving them what they want? No, right? Because this produces entitlement.

But what if that same child thanked you for all 5 favors, showed genuine appreciation, and then asked for another privilege? My guess is we would be thrilled to encourage their idea and help them out.

Or what if your family had a rule, say no video games until rooms are clean and homework is done. If you have that rule in place, do you cave because they asked nicely or begged long enough? Or do you make sure the privilege is earned on the grounds you have set?

Is God any different?

And how do we serve God to take advantage of this law that enables us to Love God? Gods made it clear that as we serve our fellow bros and sistas of the world, we are serving God. And as a result we will naturally love God more.

After all this reflection I feel like the 2 greatest commandments make a little more sense. And I feel it helps me personally realize just how dependent on God we actually are. Hopefully it helps one of you too.


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