Mark 12:28-34: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I hope you have been memorising these gospel verses as I suggested because then you will have trained your memory by now, and this slightly longer one today wonâ€™t be a problem. Itâ€™s longer but even simpler than the rest: his answer to â€˜what is the most important commandment?â€™
Because we are so bombarded today with messages and demands and our attention is being pulled in many different directions, we like the idea of simplicity. We may also like leaving big decisions that we should take for ourselves to other people like the government or doctors or, though less often today for obvious reasons, to clergy.
There is a plethora of courses and programmes on the market offering to sort us out and give us skills we need to take control of our lives â€“ provided we buy (and believe). Corporations and governments, distractedly aware of how much they are losing the war against distraction, are especially interested in these solutions. A spiritual solution, however, is different in a number of ways: 1. Itâ€™s been around a long time and doesnâ€™t claim to be new 2. It is not for financial profit 3. It is a discipline not a technique 4. It is simple not easy.
Todayâ€™s teaching says the most important thing in life is to love God, your neighbour and yourself â€“ equally. You will have to have become very simple before you can do this but in the trying you will be radicalised â€“ in the good sense. Radically simplified and our capacity for love fully amplified.
Lent and meditation go nicely together (as meditation does with all the seasons) because they are both about simplicity and discovering that when we are simple we can do one thing and achieve infinitely more than what we may be trying to achieve.