When asked, Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. He quickly added a second that was like the first: love neighbor as self. These two are alike in two ways. First, they both involve love, arguably the highest human emotion. Second, they both involve a two-way relationship. God’s love for us is unfathomable yet Jesus calls us to love Him back as close to this as we can. In essence, with every fiber of our being. In the second, our neighbor are also called to love us back.
Jeremiah 31 speaks of a time when God’s ways and laws do not need to be taught anymore because they will be written on all of our hearts. In our church communities we start to see what this looks like. In these microcosms people know God and strive to obey His teachings. People who gather together for worship, fellowship, and so on are known by God and are connected together through this relationship. Once each is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then their relationship with each other is changed. All are loved equally by God. Loving each other in the same way is the basis for this new community.
But… clearly not all are part of these loving communities. In fact, the majority of people live their lives outside of a church family, outside of a relationship with Jesus. I believe that if asked, Jesus’ third greatest commandment would be the great commission: go forth and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Jesus didn’t say to always stay in our churches. He didn’t say to closely guard our little communities. He said go forth. Into the world. The great love of and for God compels us to share it with others. Is not the highest form of loving neighbor to share what is most important to us? Go forth.
Scripture reference: Jeremiah 31: 33-34