I’m sure what I’m about to say is blasphemous, but I’m going to say it anyway. I don’t think I’m in love with God. Tough part is that Jesus clearly states that the two most important things for anyone to do are to “love the Most High God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” and “you must love your neighbor as yourself.”
But as much as I want to say I do, I just don’t think it is. I can’t wrap my head around what that looks like because my understanding of God is no longer a theistic God… I do not believe in a Divine Body in which God dwells. If you do, that’s fine. In fact, I think you’re lucky, because I think it makes some things easier. God for me is spirit, essence, energy, LOVE. So, there is no action that I can do to SHOW God that I love God. God simply can’t be an object of my love.
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Some people talk about worshiping God to show God how much they love God. But that isn’t the point of worship for me, nor do I believe that the Divine one NEEDS to be worshiped, or offered sacrifices, or promises, as proof of our love. As far as I’m concerned, there is no divine ego to stroke.
I’d like to say I love God when I “do unto the least of these,” but even that isn’t really working for me. I see each person as a sacred being (or I try to anyway, never mind the times I fall short) and so I try to treat them with kindness, compassion and love. Yes, I believe the spark of the Divine is in them, but I’m not being nice to show God my affection.
I struggled with this all week and simply felt like I failed. I re-read the scripture over and over again (this should have been an easy one to preach on), even wrote half a sermon before it finally struck me. There is a piece of this passage that hit me funny from the beginning, but I simply ignored it. Do you remember what Jesus says right before “Love God with all your heart…”?
“Hear, O Israel, God, our God, is one.”
This little snippet nagged at me until I remembered pieces of the Gnostic Gospels that pick up this same concept. Jesus was called the “Living One,” “the Single One,” or the “Unified One.” In context, it spoke of Jesus’ state of inner oneness with God, that he was a fully realized human being, an enlightened master. There was no duality, no inside and outside, no higher and lower, no male or female.
What if this is what Jesus means? Not that there is only one God, but that God is ONE. God is all. Make yourself one with God… love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength AND love your neighbor as yourself. Because our goal is to make what we see as two (us and God, us and them) become One; to “reunite with the creative principle of the universe,” as Cynthia Bourgeault says in The Meaning of Mary Magdalene.
So, if God is one with all things, not separate then there is no dualism in God. All the things we do embody love for God… or not. I think Jesus is looking around him and telling folks that they can’t compartmentalize their love of God. It can’t just be when they are reading the Torah, or debating points of scripture, or sacrificing turtle doves or keeping the law. This is all great, but just doing these individual things is incomplete, you must include the second commandment, you must (that is the word The Inclusive Bible uses) love your neighbor as yourself.
Our God is ONE. And that ONE is LOVE.
I don’t want to fall in love with God… I want to fall into God, I want to fall into LOVE. I need to stop believing that I’m separate from the Divine. Underneath ego and illusion, I am also ONE.
So, instead of loving God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength… my goal is to be one with the Divine, with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. To reunite with the love that God is.