Mark 12:29

“The most important,” answered Jesus, “is – ‘Hear, Israel; the Lord our God is the one Lord;

most importantly
love what you love
live what you love

most difficultly
know what you love
live what you know

most joyfully
know life loved
love life knowlingly

Jesus, ever the Jew, identifies the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4) as a basic back ground. There is a unifying one-ness connecting everything. By definition such a one-ness goes beyond any definition of such. So “God”, as a word, is always pointing beyond itself—something like G*D, comes closer to a representation of that process of one-ness. An image of G*D must be partnered with G*D.

To limit the one-ness to language about “Lord” is too large and too small a designation. It might be said that whatever G*D might point to is partnered with everything else or “G*D is the one Partner”.

This definition, always in need of a next definition, is a meta-commandment running differently than the specifics of any subsequent description of consequence.

Beginning a response in such a way, gives a hint that there is additional mystery ahead. It also shows Jesus in accord with some of the Scribe and Pharisees over against the disputes to this point and following. This moment of accord asks the Reader to read critically and not to automatically port other negative comments into all settings. When this appreciation of a commonality goes missing, the Church of Jesus becomes defensive about its identity and insists on being offensive to its Jewish heritage.

Shema means “listen”. In light of other places where Jesus has used listening language, we experience Shema as a parable. Likewise, specific commandments need an appreciative response of Midrash and to be approached as a parable.

This quoting of the Shema as a starting point is described by Sabin295: “I think the incident fits coherently into Mark’s narrative if one sees him as presenting Jesus as himself a righteous Jew, desirous not of destroying the Temple but of restoring it to its first principles.”

We return to Baptizer John who gathered people beyond the Jordan that their baptism would return them from the wilderness and the experiences behind the Shema to their current life in Jerusalem. This needed restoration work in the midst of occupation is still needed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.