Love God, Love Others (July 2022 Newsletter Article)

By Lindsey Bina
Pastor, Care

Jesus 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.’ – Matthew 22:37-40

Love God, love others. It is the central theme of Jesus’ ministry, and a resounding chorus at SOTV. It sounds simple enough – just two commandments, right? But add in factors like complicated human relationships, personal ego, a bit of doubt or cynicism…and very quickly, things aren’t so simple any more.

SOTV hosted one of our quarterly healing services last month and it was one of our highest attended services to date. It is evident that life has felt heavy for so many, for a multitude of reasons: a beloved pastor retires, COVID infections continue to surface, the cost of groceries and gas stretches our pocketbooks, gun violence has us wondering about our safety and that of our loved ones…not to mention family conflict, health concerns, and life transitions to navigate.

Dear ones: I see your anxiety, worry, and grief. They are real.

And when life gets difficult, our calling as Christians is to return to the basics: Love God, love others. God is faithful, and the Spirit continues to move within and around us. I heard recently: if you’re looking for God – look for love. For where you see love, there is God.

We can be signs of God’s love and presence too. We do this by showing up for each other – bringing a meal when someone is going through a hard time, offering to mow a busy neighbor’s lawn, calling your elected officials to advocate for a policy that reflects your values, smiling at a noisy kid in the grocery store, or praying for those in need.

You – and the way you show up – proclaims the two greatest commandments in word and deed: Love God, love others.

I have had this song by Melanie DeMore running through my head recently. I first heard it at a VocalEssence Witness concert a handful of years ago and the message is powerful. Lead with Love. Even when things are hard, we can put one foot in front of the other and trust in the way of Love. Read through the lyrics and if you’re reading this online, you can click here to hear Melanie DeMore sing this powerful message that love can – and will – lead us along the way.

Love God, love others. God’s got us, and we are in this together.

God’s peace,
Pastor Lindsey Bina

“Lead with Love” by Melanie DeMore
(usually sung a cappella)

You gotta put one foot in front of the other
And lead with love
Put one foot in front of the other
And lead with love
(repeat all 4 lines)

Verses (call and response):
Don’t give up hope
You’re not alone
Don’t you give up
Keep movin on

Lift up your eyes
Don’t you despair
Look up ahead
The path is there

I know you’re scared
And I’m scared too
But here I am
Right next to you