“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” - Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Called Shema Yisrael, this is a prayer that serves as a centre piece to morning and evening prayer in Jewish traditions. Mark quotes Jesus as saying it as part of the great commandment. “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
In Deuteronomy, the call is to Israel. Under the covenant of Christ, the call is to everyone. And if you think that Israel owed it to God for all that He did in freeing them from captivity, we gentiles owe Him no less under the new covenant. Rather, we owe more. And we must not forget through inaction.
We do not measure up to the gift we have been given. But we must serve. We fall down, and we get up again, in service. And the Lord will hold us when we fail.