Deuteronomy 11:18-28 (NRSV)
You shall put these words of mine in your heart and soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and fix them as an emblem on your forehead. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your ancestors to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.
If you will diligently observe this entire commandment that I am commanding you, loving the Lord your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him, then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and mightier than yourselves. Every place on which you set foot shall be yours; your territory shall extend from the wilderness to the Lebanon and from the River, the river Euphrates, to the Western Sea. No one will be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the fear and dread of you on all the land on which you set foot, as he promised you.
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn from the way that I am commanding you today, to follow other gods that you have not known.
The writer of Deuteronomy has received a commandment from God and his task is to share this commandment. It’s a simple commandment, only three words: Love The Lord. Simple to say, but maybe not so simple to do.
Moses, as the writer of Deuteronomy, doesn’t want us to miss the importance of these words. He tells us that these three words are a mandate for us, so all-encompassing that they become our life: Write these words on your hand so you see them every day. Write these words on your forehead so all you are with see these words. Make sure your kids know these words. Tell your wife, tell your mother-in-law, tell your dog. Put these words on a T-shirt you wear to the gym. Write them over your door so you see them every time you go in and out of your house.
Have you ever met someone who is a one-trick-pony, who is so focused on one thing that he can only talk about that one thing? What we are talking about here is different – it is someone who loves the Lord so much that it becomes a natural part of his or her life. It’s not something that one puts on a big sign and carries around. It’s not something one writes on 3×5 note cards and hands out. Rather, it is something that one lives out. We rethink everything because we love the Lord. In a way, Moses suggests we become a walking billboard for loving the Lord…but without the actual billboard. Then, Moses tells us, our lives will be good. Our lives will be complete because we are loving the Lord and walking with the Lord.
Let me learn to pause from the grasp of this busy life, if only for this day.
In pausing, let me find peace, and let me enter into a quiet world if only for this day.
And in peace and in this quiet world, let me be free of the burdens that must return.
So that I may learn to love you. Amen.