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Jesus answered, “The first of all the commandments is, ‘Listen, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself". There is no other commandment greater than these Mark 12: 29-31
I wonder what the most well know bible text is?   I think possible John 3:16.   But in Jesus day and for Jewish people still the most well-known text and most said, shared and lived is the Shema.  You can find it in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Jesus quoted it in Mark 12
Jewish families recite it morning and evening, have it in Mezuzahs on the main door posts of the house so I can be touched when going out or coming in.  You may also have seen the Shema boxes (tefillin)  that are tied to the forehead and along the arm
LISTEN, LOVE, REPEATThe first word is Shema which means listen
There are just two verbs in the Shema.  Listen and love.   And in Matthew 22:40 Jesus tells us that all the laws and the prophets depend on the Shema and the second command to love our neighbour as ourselves
So I would like to put in a plea that when we start teaching people to memorise texts or talking about whether we have to have the Lord’s prayer in every service or what sort of worship the Lord wants..... please can we at least consider going back to what Jesus himself and all the apostles were taught from childhood
To recite, to pray and to live by these two commandments to LISTEN and to LOVE
Rev Donna Dodson
Associate Methodist Minister, based at Magdalen Way Methodist Church

image courtesy of Rev Donna Dodson

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