Most of our Thanksgiving tables were a little different this year. Smaller table. Fewer chairs.…
“I love you with all of my heart,” we might say to someone. But what does a muscular, blood-pumping mechanism have to do with love? It’s not a literal term, but a symbolic one.
“My heart” represents my life, my all, my inner depth. It reflects the fact that I cannot physically live without a heart. The heart pumps blood to every part of the body. We speak about “the heart of the matter” as the necessary basis from which everything else stems.
The brain is also necessary for life. It sends signals to each part of the body in order to function properly. What happens when a person is “brain dead?” Nothing moves. Nothing responds. The heart may pump, but there is no real life.
People can live without arms, legs, tonsils, a gall bladder, a kidney, hair etc. Some of our parts are helpful, but not necessary for life. My heart is replaceable, but only with another matching heart. It is the very core of my being.
No wonder Jesus reiterated the Old Testament mandate as the most important of the commandments. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength” (Deuteronomy 11:13 and Luke 10:27). That’s the bottom line, so to speak. The test of our relationship with God. And out of that stems the motivation to love our neighbors.
What is life without love?