Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God and love your neighbour. He said that was the greatest commandment. Later his beloved friend John helped us recognise how they are the greatest commandment by essentially saying we could not do one without the other.
What Jesus said was based on something that Moses had heard from the I AM who brought His people out of slavery. Those Ten Words outlined what love for God and love for others looks like, from the divine relationship to the family relationship to the engagement with the wider world. The love described was based on soft and gooey sentiments. It was based on hard commitment of the will to acknowledge God for all He is and all He has done.
Saying love is all you need can come across as simplistic. Hearing it as a song lyric from a time and age where there was an apparent effort for peace and love and all the groovy ideals seems like such a disappointment in the light of subsequent decades of war, bloodshed, corruption, a cycle of high hopes and broken promises.
When the love that is mentioned, however, is an enduring, pure, righteous and holy love, this is truly all we need. We see this love in action through a man travelling across a small region not just preaching about a rule of love, but demonstrating it in healed and restored lives. That’s the love we need. We see this in a love that serves others and looks for their interests. That’s the love we need. We see this in a love that never gives up and holds onto what is true, noble, right, pure, excellent, admirable, lovely and praiseworthy. That’s the love we need.
We need it for relationships with our parents and children. We need it in the workplace and in the places of leisure. We need it in interactions between individuals, companies and nation states.
We need it for the sensation of seeing the birth of a beautiful baby. We need it when they are celebrating their first steps. We need it when they rush home with their first drawing from school. We need it as they walk down the aisle with their new partner for life. We need it in getting the new home and the job they always wanted. We need it when around the family table with four generations grateful for food, fun and fellowship.
We need it when a loved one is facing the final moments of life. We need it when facing the effects of a bully at school. We need it when an organisation looks to make a profit by laying off loyal workers. We need it when two tribes are about to go to war with each other. We need it when one group of people think they are perfectly fine ostracising another group. We need it at the loneliest and darkest time in life.
Love is all we need. And we certainly need it.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden