Favorite scriptures and quotes from Church leaders and other wise men and women
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The First Great Commandment (Holland)
My beloved brothers and sisters, I am not certain just what our experience will be on Judgment Day, but I will be very surprised if at some point in that conversation, God does not ask us exactly what Christ asked Peter: “Did you love me?” I think He will want to know if in our very mortal, very inadequate, and sometimes childish grasp of things, did we at least understand one commandment, the first and greatest commandment of them all—“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” And if at such a moment we can stammer out, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee,” then He may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments,” Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before. The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it. It was this truth, this reality, that allowed a handful of Galilean fishermen-turned-again-Apostles without “a single synagogue or sword” to leave those nets a second time and go on to shape the history of the world in which we now live.
“Every person who lives in this world wields an influence, whether for good or for evil. It is not what he says alone; it is not alone what he does. It is what he is. ...Every person radiates what he or she really is. ...It is what we are and what we radiate that effects the people around us.”
Let me share a personal story to illustrate this point. During my time in law school at
Duke University, I attended a class in the Duke Divinity School from James Charlesworth. He was a very prominent Dead Sea Scrolls scholar working at that time on a translation of Jewish and Christian texts from around the time of Christ that had never been translated and published in English.
In this class, we were charged with reading a certain text. Charlesworth presented it as one of the most puzzling texts he had ever run across. His question was: Is it Christian or Jewish? He had no idea where it might have originated, because it was quite unlike anything else that he had ever seen.
He explained to this seminar that it tells a story about a man named Zosimus who leaves Jerusalem. He goes out into the desert, wanders and gets lost in a big mist of darkness. He then arrives at the banks of a big ocean or river. He cannot move. He is afraid because he wants to know the way to a life of righteousn…