The name Shema derives from the initial word of the scriptural verse “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4). The time for recital was determined by the first two texts: “when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Matthew 22:37-40: 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.”
Dr. Stanley Spence, Pastor First Baptist Church, Lincolnton, N.C.
The world has a way of slipping from you if you are not careful to see how God is bringing it to your doorstep. In the early years of life we are in a rush to greet the world as it comes to us; however, in all our lives there comes a day when things start slipping away one by one until you cannot deny the circumstances as they really are.
As youth, we are thrilled with the decisions about the future and the unfolding of our lives with recreation, vocation and education all leading to a future no one could deny was still unfolding. Somewhere along the way, there were more years behind us than there were in front of us. Formal education slowed or stopped, athleticism slowed, some knowledge was forgotten. Friends grew up, married and moved away. Family members died along with friends and the years went by all the more quickly.
Then comes the moment when we realize we are saying more goodbyes than ever imagined. Goodbye to youth, friends, careers, opportunities, and motor skills. Eventually, there are fewer years ahead than there are behind and suddenly you feel stiff-armed by life’s constant reminder, you are aging. You want to pass on the lessons of life you learned at a high price, but the invincible youth aren’t listening and the others your age are just trying to survive as well.
It is then (during these years), that I realized how simple this journey is. There is grace enough for the journey if we but slow down and embrace the moments along the way. Don’t be in such a hurry. Embrace the beauty of God’s creation, which is hard to see, moving at break-neck speeds. Home is where you are and not always where you want to be.
I believe this is why the Lord gave us the Ten Commandments and the “Shema” (Matthew 22:37-40). When we learn to respect others we will embrace the fullness of life all the more where ever it is. Loving God and your neighbor might be the simplest form of seeing things coming to you. Embrace the Lord and love your neighbor and you just may slow down enough to see the world God created for you.
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