Music & the Spoken Word: The greatest commandments

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given June 12, 2022.

Long ago, a lawyer asked Jesus which of the commandments is the greatest. He certainly had many to choose from, among hundreds of decrees from scripture and the law. With clarity and wisdom, Jesus responded: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39).

Perhaps the lawyer thought Jesus would prioritize the commandments for him. But the Lord did something even more valuable: He summarized them. Instead of implying that some commandments are less important, He taught that they are all — in essence — expressions of love.

Imagine how the world would be different if our actions were consistently motivated by love for God and love for our neighbor, whether that neighbor is across the street or across the world. Communication technologies continue to make our world smaller and our “neighborhoods” bigger. Connecting with others has never been easier, and yet too many people feel disconnected.

In a popular musical from years ago, the orphan Oliver has known only hunger and loneliness, surrounded by uncaring adults. One night, after being sent to sleep in a cellar, Oliver asks a question that so many still ask today: “Where is love?” (see “Oliver!” by Lionel Bart).

We can each be part of the answer to that question. We can’t solve every problem or dry every tear. But we can start, as Jesus taught, with love for God. When we feel love for Him and from Him, He helps us know how to extend that love to His children, our neighbors in this world. Despite our deepest differences, we all share the same basic needs: not only for safety, shelter and sustenance but also for belonging, purpose and love.

Where is love? It is found whenever we open our heart to someone else, whenever we put the needs of others before our own, whenever we set aside prejudice and listen. These are things we all can do.

Where is love? It’s in each of us as we love God and love our neighbor.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, KSL.com, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the tabernaclechoir.org, youtube.com/TheTabernacleChoir and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.com/viewers-listeners/airing-schedules.

See the Church News’ archive of ‘Spoken Word’ messages