Greatest Commandment

“Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”” Mark 12:29-31
For Jewish religious associations, like the Qumran communities, the Essenes, and the Pharisees--life centered around a CODE (or a set of rules), as embodied in the Torah. This lay at the basis of blessings, readings, expositions, confessions, and prayers that formed the content of the synagogue services.
For members of the Hellenistic Jews, life centered primarily around a cult, with dramatic rituals, processions, and mystical experiences.
The Scriptures teach that the Christian Life centers primarily around FELLOWSHIP with God and one another. The gifts and fruit of the Spirit are the instruments through which this fellowship is expressed and deepened.
This means that the focal point for Christian’s is not a book or a rite, not a code or a cult, but a set of relationships: love God, love neighbor.
I think Catholicism increasingly followed the path of the cults in making a rite the center of its activities; and Protestantism followed the path of the synagogue in placing a book and rules at the center of its services. Of course the Bible and communion and moral rules are fundamental to what takes place in church, but there is more to the work of the Spirit in the church than the Word and Sacrament and good behavior. To separate the Word and Sacrament from the relationship is to indulge in empty religious exercise; to separate moral behavior from the relationship is to become a legalist. All of these are empty without God. It’s all about the relationship.
-Pastor Dino Griffin