Or in other words...

It may or may not be a secret that I love Kierkegaard. It's rare enough to find a Christian philosopher from the 1800s, but one who writes extensively about love is...well, I just kind of love it.

While I was in DC waiting outside the metro and then again on the plane, I was slightly sucked in to the first and second chapters of his piece, Works of Love. When it came time for me to prepare another Sunday School lesson, I decided to find a way to include some of my favorite insights--no matter what. Kind of like the tracting game we would play as missionaries--pick a random scripture while walking up to a door and make your companion find a way to incorporate it into their door approach. Why we got a kick out of that, I still don't know.

Anyway. I'm hoping this will be a little more successful.

The Christian philosopher discusses the commandments to “love God with all your heart, mind and strength” with the command to” love your neighbor as yourself”.

“…it is not said, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God as thyself,’ but rather, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and all thy mind.’ A man should love God in unconditional obedience and love him in adoration….All you have to do is to obey in love. A human being, on the other hand, you ought only—yet...this is indeed the highest—therefore a human being you ought to love as yourself.”

The question is then posed, “Who is my neighbor”. When the Pharisees asked this question, the Savior responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan. Kierkegaard continues his discourse, “To be sure, neighbor in itself is manifold, for neighbor means all men; and yet in another sense one person is enough in order that you may practice the law.” When the He asked the Pharisees which of the three travelers was neighbor to the man robbed, assaulted and left to die, they answered correctly saying it was the Samaritan, the “one who showed mercy” on the man. “Christ does not speak about recognizing one’s neighbor but about being a neighbor oneself, about proving oneself to be a neighbor, something the Samaritan showed by his compassion. By this he did not prove that the assaulted man was his neighbor but that he was a neighbor of the one assaulted.” I think this is an interesting and insightful commentary regarding the commandment to love your neighbor. Think about that for a second, we are commanded not to prove that others are our neighbor, but that we are a neighbor to others. The responsibility to be a neighbor lies within ourselves.

The lesson is on the law of tithing and the law of the fast. What better way to sum up both but with the first and second commandments: Love God and Love Everyone (including yourself--in the right way).

My favorite quote from the lesson manual comes from John A. Widtsoe (a name which, btw, I've have had a hard time pronouncing since the days of my science classes taught in the Widtsoe at BYU):

The tithe-payer establishes communion with the Lord. This is the happiest reward. Obedience to the law of tithing, as to any other law, brings a deep, inward joy, a satisfaction and understanding that can be won in no other way. Man becomes in a real sense a partner, albeit a humble one, wit the Lord in the tremendous, eternal program laid out for human salvation. The principles of truth become clearer of comprehension; the living of them easier of accomplishment. A new nearness is established between man and his Maker. Prayer becomes easier. Doubt retreats; faith advances; certainty and courage buoy up the soul. The spiritual sense is sharpened; the eternal voice is heard more clearly. Man becomes more like his Father in Heaven.

This is the happiest reward.

Another gem from the lesson comes from Isaiah. Wow, is all I can say about this ancient prophet's gift with words!

Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not (58:8-11).

With blessings like these, how can one not love God with obedience and adoration?

...prayer and rejoicing.

1 comment:

Annie said...

I'm so glad you're back posting again! :) There are only 2 blogs I check daily and yours is one of them.