Mark 12:30

and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

abundant life fully full
energized committed
transforms dreams
builds scaffolds

to raise a generations-long
cathedral from ancestral bones
asks vision
implements partnerships

even before it falls
we rejoice in the building
with all our heart and being
with all our certainty and doubt

“Lord your God” is an appositional phrase where both words have the same referent. It is related to parallelism in Hebrew poetry. The dismal history of Lords and hierarchy when related to G*D over-point to a separated rather than shared image.

After establishing partnership as a one-ness, the first mentioned quality is love of Partner. At this point we can reflect on what Jacob B. Agus wrote in The Vision and the Way, “The love of God is the climax of piety, not its beginning.” Mann479 follows this with, “the command to love God is an aspiration expressed as an injunction.”

Mark reports Jesus’ playing with his quotation of Deuteronomy 6:5. This raises a question of how much play we see in our interaction with our reading of settled scripture.

“Heart” is still heart (in Hebrew thought, the heart is the center of our intellect). The second quality is more traditionally called “soul” (an inner source of will and desire). But then Jesus tosses in “mind” (not in the original and a synonym of “heart” in the Septuagint, LXX). And concludes with “strength”, but changes the LXX word from δύναμις (dunamis) to ἰσχύς (ischus). Presumably these are significant variants for Mark’s community.

Given the repeated use of “Let those with ears, hear”, the addition of “mind” to “heart” encourages us to ask second questions.

Regarding “soul” or “will” there is a danger in asking, “How do I know I love G*D?” The too frequent response is an equation of our will with G*D’s Law. This leads to measuring piety against piety in judging a legally required, minimum amount, of obedience. “Paul knew the insidious menace of establishing righteousness through legal obedience, but it must immediately be added that the Christian centuries have seen little mitigation of the menace”, Mann480.

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