I’m pondering things. To “ponder” means to weigh; and it strikes me that we need to weigh who we are and where we are in life.
In Christ’s famous remark about loving God and loving one’s neighbor as oneself, he says, “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
That which hangs has weight; and all of the law—in relationship to our Being, and everything that is said about it—is “drawn downward” from this Love by gravity. That is to say, Love in both its guises—Love of God and Love on my own level— provides a support on which all other parts of my existence hang. Perhaps I’m not explaining it so well, but I hope you get the gist.
So my life actually depends on how I Love. It is above me, speaking not just metaphysically but in terms of what I am as a Being — it is greater than what I am. And there is a tangible physical gravity present in the manifestation of Love.
That gravity is easily obscured by romantic love and lust, and even more easily forgotten in the daily pressures of life. So I don’t quite see, mindfully see, intelligently see, how everything that proceeds in life is suspended from love like a pendulum.
That pendulum —consisting of “all the law and prophets,” metaphorically speaking — swings back and forth slowly, in broad, rhythmic measurements, describing a consistent arc between the polarities of our lives.
I live under law— not the laws of societies, but the inexorable fact of existence and the physical events that drive it. These are objective. It doesn’t matter how I feel about life; it moves forward. Things happen; people die. All of it is according to both natural and spiritual law; that is to say, laws that are visible and known and laws that are invisible and unknown. Regardless, an order exists; and whether I want to or not, I must conform to it.
At the same time, I live under “the prophets:” those who “speak for God” to describe Being and the Law. Some people describe one, others may describe the other; but what we come to here is the stories that are told, which are distinct from the law, and reflect it, at best, superficially. Yet men are the vicegerents of God; we do speak for Him, even if in only crude approximation of His Glory.
Nonetheless, both the law — objective reality — and the prophets — subjective reality — are dependent on love for their Being. In commanding me to understand this, Christ asks me to ponder — to weigh — the question of what my life is in the context of love for God (law) and love for my fellow man (prophecy.)
Somewhere in the weight and the gravity of my Being, Love holds a central place. The pendulum of my life is suspended from it; it swings back and forth, but it is always subject to that great force.
If I don’t respect that and attend to it, life loses its meaning. So I can’t just take it for granted: I have to search for it earnestly, intelligently, in every situation.
Sometimes, it is enough to just do the dishes quietly and lovingly.
This can be much more important than all the things that I think are special. It is important to see that the dishes are special; that hot water is a gift; that to clean something is a privilege.
Have we forgotten this, as a people?
Or are we destroying ourselves with our addiction to miracles?
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.