Today’s Faith – November 2023

A Shema

Followers of the traditional Jewish faith are encouraged to post a Shema at their most used doorway to the outside.  A Shema is a tiny box containing the words, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) The Shema is intended to remind the faithful to keep God and God’s commandments at the forefront of their mind in their daily life.

I am sure they don’t have to open the box and read the lines each time they go or come from their home. From years of living them, the words are written on their hearts. They need only to see the box to hear the words and be reminded to live them.

Jesus taught that a second commandment is equally important, “Love your neighbour as (you love) yourself.  (Matthew 22:37-38) Three loves – God, Neighbour and Self. Psychologists tells us that our ability to love others comes from our love and respect for ourselves. Jesus knew this. In the prayer that he taught his disciples he says, “Forgive others as you forgive yourself.”

Maybe a Shema at our door with Jesus words, Love God, Love Others, Love Yourself, would be helpful for Christians today, that means you and I.  Just a tiny box made of wood, or metal – painted or plain –  containing the commandment- “Live a three fold love for God, others and yourself,” to remind us to live our faith would be helpful. Maybe then when we see someone standing on a street corner with a sign containing the words – homeless and hungry, or an impatient store clerk, or a mom struggling to control a unhappy child– our hearts might see with love for another human being just like ourselves. Living our faith needs a daily reminder. We want this three fold love written on our hearts.

 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”

(Matthew 22:36-40)

By Rev Janet Stobie

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