Embracing the Shema: A Christian Devotional on Loving God and Neighbor
"Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad." These words, from the Hebrew Bible's Book of Deuteronomy, are perhaps the most well-known and oft-quoted verses in all of Judaism. And for good reason: they encapsulate a central tenet of the Jewish faith - to love God with all one's heart, soul, and might. But what does it mean for Christians to "embrace the Shema"? Let’s explore what it means to love God and neighbor as ourselves, and how doing so can transform our lives.
At its core, the Shema is a call to love God with all one’s being. It serves as an invitation to enter into a deep and abiding relationship with the Divine. This means more than simply believing in God intellectually; it requires dedicating our lives to living out that belief through prayer and acts of service. We must strive to become vessels of God’s love, and to bring that love into the world.
As Christian the Shema also calls us to "love our neighbor” as The greatest commandment is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" and to "love your neighbor as yourself".
The book of Luke in the Bible is full of powerful lessons and inspiring stories. One such example is found in Chapter 10, when Jesus is asked by a teacher of the law, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” In response, Jesus quoted the Shema: “Love the Lord your God with all yourourselves". This commandment serves as a reminder of our responsibility to show compassion and kindness towards those around us. It requires us to practice humility and selflessness in all of our interactions. We must remember that just as God loves us, so too do we have an obligation to love our neighbor.
Finally, embracing the Shema means living with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the blessings in our lives. By recognizing all that God has provided - from material goods to spiritual sustenance - we can better understand our role in the world. We can become more mindful of our actions, and strive to use all of our blessings for the greater good.
At its heart, embracing the Shema is about cultivating a deep and abiding connection with God and neighbor. By dedicating ourselves to loving both with all we have, we can create meaningful change not only in our own lives, but in the world around us. May we all strive to live up to this beautiful commandment and bring more love into the world!
Until Everyone Hears,
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 states, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”