God and neighbor — it all hinges on love

Published 6:11 am Thursday, April 21, 2016

Did you ever think about hinges? 

Hinges are kind of important, aren’t they? On doors, windows or cabinets, they really help us when we open or close them. Without the hinge we’d have to just move the door over like the stone in front of the tomb, making it difficult to come in or out. 

Hinges make things much more convenient and easy to use. And you generally need at least two, don’t you? Think of a door hanging from a pair of hinges. Door hinges restrict the motion of the door to the arc in which it is intended to swing. As long as both hinges remain secure and the frame remains square, the door will function reliably, moving where its creator intended and closing securely. However, if either hinge comes loose, the door becomes an obstruction and will soon tear loose from its frame altogether. 

Jesus, our great Carpenter, knew about hinges. Remember how he answered the Pharisees (Matthew 22:34-40) about which commandment was the greatest. He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” 

On these two commandments hinge all the law and the prophets and the whole Bible. Obedience to these two commandments — to love God and to love neighbor — work together to restrict our activity to the straight and narrow path that God has created us to walk.

The two loves go together — love of God and love of neighbor. Each leans on the other and helps to support it.  You need them both or the door of your life comes crashing down. 

Mother Teresa talks about how we show our love of God in our love of neighbor: “Because we cannot see Christ, we cannot express our love to him, but our neighbors we can always see, and we can do to them what, if we saw him, we would like to do to Christ. Here in the slums, in the broken body, in the children, we see Christ and we touch him.” 

How are your hinges? Do you have them well oiled? Do you love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind — and do you love your neighbor as yourself? 

REV. DALE BROWN is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian Churches. His email is dalembesq@aol.com.