Saturday, May 28, 2011

Two Faced

The bonds we have to God were forged before creation. Everything we know about Him or experience of Him stems from the ties He forged with us before time began. He even specifies the nature of that relationship; it is exclusive, subservient, and reverent. No one is exempt, even pagans.

Oh, Belshazzar, you have not humbled yourself, though you know all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from His temple brought to you and you and your nobles, your wives, and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which cannot see or hear, or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in His hand your life and all your ways.--Daniel 5:22-23

So one of our faces must be turned to God at all times, and that face must worship, recognize our lowliness before Him, and rejoice in it. But, like Janus, we have a second face, one with which we look at one another. That relationship differs substantially from the first. With that face, we love and empathize. We recognize our common human lot, our frailty, and our equality before God. We are as like one another as we are different from God. He knows this, of course, and explained it in simple terms.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.--Matthew 22:37-38

Jesus explains these as two commands because they are. The first command governs our first face, the one turned toward God. The second tells us to love each other through our frailties, remembering that we all the same before Him. God instituted this double standard from the beginning. Love and worship God because He is not like us. Love and forgive men because we are all alike.

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