Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Devotion by Anne Mooney
The first part of this scripture is known by Hebrews as the shema. It got that name because the first word in the Hebrew scripture was shema, which means hear. These words are well known in Jewish and in Christian culture. The Jews did indeed post the words on little scrolls and placed them in little boxes called a mezuzah on their doorposts. Christians know these words as Jesus’ Great Commandment (see Matthew 22: 38-39). They are an important foundation for our faith. They are a call to trust in and love the God of all Creation. In the Old Testament these words were said to be so important that the people were encouraged to remember them and teach them to the generations that followed them. In the New Testament, Jesus reiterated their importance by teaching them as the most important commandment of all and introducing the idea that it leads us to loving ourselves and others as well. There is no greater purpose for living than to love God, ourselves, and each other.
Thank you for the Shema and its reminder to love God, ourselves and each other. Amen.