The First Commandment, or The Hidden Promise

I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods.

Through time, or if we’re blessed to receive it, we begin to comprehend that we, with all the other saints, are held in the warm embrace of our Lord. And we will continue there through our days, though loved ones die and our bodies age. And soon, we draw close to us those who are younger, or those who do not know the story yet, whose questions haunt and trouble them and we them tell about God’s love in small, surprising ways. Together we peel apples, snap beans, wash dishes, teach them to measure wood or use a stick shift. And we tell them about this Jesus, this particular one named Jesus, who continues to love us while teaching us how.

The whole world speaks of God’s love, but not as we expect. Not as we imagine. Not in grand, memorable or even sensible ways. Rather, it is in the small, almost forgettable moments that God enables us to love, because God’s love always appears in the particular — the Word, the bread, the wine, the water, the one next to you, in the work we do. For these are the particular ways that our Lord chooses to reveal all the promises for us. Our God chooses not to be abstract or obtuse; rather God’s love is substantial and fleshy and real.

God’s first commandment for us to love God above nothing else is impossible to fulfill, much less comprehend. But in this command a promise is hidden. We Christians, over time, and this Word, are given new eyes. New eyes that do not deny pain or suffering or even our own inadequacies. But new eyes, which see beyond these things — beyond grief to hope, beyond the snowy slumber of grasses to an awakening spring, beyond the muddy grave to a life-giving resurrection.

For we believe that the world speaks of God’s love. It is in this world, small and broken, that God speaks to us. And through this strange and gracious word, we come to trust; we let go, into faith, into “yes”.