Reflection from Pastor Hoffman:
This week’s Scripture includes the foundation of the Christian life. (Mark 12:28-31) One of the scribes asks Jesus: Which commandment is the greatest? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Most of us know these commandments. When asked, we can easily respond that this is what Jesus tells us to do: love God and love others. But hearing these commandments this time, in the context of Compassion Camp and with our focus this week on having compassion for ourselves, I’m struck by this truth. We can’t love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength if we don’t take care of ourselves in body, mind and spirit. And we can’t love our neighbors well if we don’t love ourselves well. Note: Jesus did not just say, “love your neighbor.” He instructed us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Loving ourselves goes deeper than the self-care packaged as a bubble bath or a round of golf. Loving ourselves begins with treating ourselves with the same compassion Jesus calls us to share with others. Compassion looks like being gentle and kind. Compassion looks like noticing where there’s hurt and helping to heal that hurt. Compassion looks like being brave and courageous for the sake of love.
Do you treat yourself with compassion? Do you speak to yourself with kindness – or is your head filled with critical self-talk and judgment? Do you pay attention to your body’s needs – taking care of it when you’re sick or run down, eating well and exercising, or do you often run on empty? Do you have the courage to prioritize your needs, even when it feels risky to do so?
We love, because God first loved us. When we cultivate compassion – not just for others, not just out there in the world, but for ourselves, we experience – in body, mind and spirit – the depth and height and breadth of God’s love for us. How will you cultivate compassion for yourself this week?
~ Pastor H.
P.S. If you haven’t signed up for Compassion Camp, it’s not too late! I’ll send you the login for the Google classroom where you’ll find resources to cultivate compassion. Try yoga movement! Or a nightly devotion through the ancient practice of Examen.