Memorial Day Weekend was lovely at our house. We started the weekend with the best kind of walk – on the golf course. We culminated the weekend sitting on our deck with the warm wind blowing across us (until we realized we were in a tornado warning). All weekend long we cooked good and healthy food, took long walks and some naps, played, talked, rested. We took care of ourselves.


In the scriptures, Jesus makes a theological statement that could easily be overlooked.  See if you can spot it:

One of them, a legal expert, tested Jesus. “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”  Matthew 22:35-40 (CEB)


This story comes in the middle of religious people trying to trip Jesus up by asking him to do what was impossible: choose the most important of all the 613 laws of Moses. Surprisingly, Jesus takes the challenge and answers with a wisdom that can only come from God. First, love God. And the second is like it. Meaning the second is the same thing as the first. And the second is to love your neighbor as yourself.  When we love others, we love God. This, in itself, was a brilliant and articulate way to answer the impossible question.


But that’s not the theological statement I take note of today. As I read Jesus’ answer and process the content of what Jesus says is most important, I must not overlook that Jesus is also saying that when I love myself, I am loving God.  When I take care of me (by the way, not to the exclusion of loving my neighbor), I am acting out my love for the One who created me.


The self-care and self-love of my weekend spilled over into this work week.  I took a long walk in a meeting I had with a church leader (at her prompting). I made sure I slept well and ate well. I made time for prayer and reflection for me and for the preparation of the weekend message. I took time to learn dot painting (see picture above), and that filled my soul. The everyday challenge is to be about the work of balancing a life that takes good care of the body AND loves our neighbors as ourselves.


What are you doing to love yourself?  What could you be doing to love yourself?  Remember that self-care and self-love demonstrate your love for God, just like prayer, feeding the hungry, singing your praises and making sure our children are safe.  In the midst of the weight of the painful deaths over the last few weeks, remember to take care of yourself while you are advocating for change.


Pastor Becky Jo

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