Indeed, the call to love your every neighbor is greater than any other ‘holy obligation’, even the obligation to worship, or the obligation to perform or uphold any particular dogma, doctrine, or pet social issue. We know now that embracing our community with love is the most important part of the Spirit’s call on our hearts, for the call to engage and work towards the realization of holy community is at the heart of the words of Jesus when he said that ‘the Kingdom of God is already at hand’.
And that is because the call to love in this way is a call directly from the Lord, whereas the ‘call’ to honor or live into any particular ‘holy obligation’ always comes to us through a human filter. And unfortunately, history has shown us over and over that this call to give primacy to dogma over the practice of loving-without-condition has often been impeded by that same filter. In truth it is only by learning to love our God that we are then empowered to love others.
And it is no simple task and no quick fix…the sins we ourselves must find a way to atone for are often ignored or safely and conveniently forgotten in some strange sort of self-preservation…or at least a preservation of the way we wish to see ourselves. At some point, we must come to terms with the darkness at the core of our formative history as a nation if we are ever going to find the way to our knees in the quest for forgiveness and true reunification with all of our now marginalized brothers and sisters, with all of those who bear the same image as we do, the image of our God.
Ultimately, unless you know the complicity you share in the ongoing, perpetual injustice that constantly and mercilessly wastes humanity in its drive to preserve our culture and way of life in its present state…an almost manic drive for cheaper, more accessible and often environmentally unfriendly products…unless you understand that marginality of whole classes of individuals is kept in place through systematic and structural (hence largely unseen, hidden and sinful) forces…unless you come to grips with an understanding that our great nation owns and has yet to come to grips with, or to repent of, a squalid history that was built upon the nearly complete annihilation of a native population and the subjugation and enslavement of several others in the name of the same God we claim to worship now…
…and unless that knowledge forces you to your knees in begging for forgiveness…if you do not know how much God loves even you, oh prosperous and hopeful residents of this prosperous country…then the command to ‘love one another as you are loved’ will have no meaning. For truly in the eyes of our God, we are all a part of one family…no exceptions.