Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This was recorded at the University of Oxford with Rev. Andrew Teal, on June. 14, 2022. This will be given Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023.
The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. For nearly a thousand years, teachers have taught and students have learned at this venerable institution, which now includes 39 colleges and a variety of disciplines. Among the many important subjects taught here over the centuries, one of the first was theology.
And so, at this impressive place of learning, we pause to consider the words of one who was known as the master teacher — Jesus of Nazareth. A lawyer once asked Jesus which of the commandments is the greatest. With precision 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).
Those two commandments have been the bedrock of Christian belief and behavior ever since. Even as circumstances and cultural norms continue to change, these two standards — love God and love your neighbor — remain as relevant and reliable as ever.
To help us reflect on these two great commandments, we are joined by the Rev. Andrew Teal, a member of the Oxford Faculty of Theology and Religion and a lecturer, chaplain and Anglican priest. Rev. Teal has spent many years speaking on the power of interfaith outreach and friendship. And at the heart of everything he teaches is the love of God.
Rev. Andrew Teal said: “You can never do anything or be anything that will make God love you any less. He is love. He can’t do anything other than what He is. His only desire is for every human being to flourish. If this has been a bad week, or if you feel that your life has dealt you more blows than hugs, keep on keeping on, because the dignity and importance of a human being is never dispensable. You’re never worthless. And feeling worthless itself can prompt us to reach out in empathy to other people and to understand other people’s pain, rather than crumble.”
God’s love for us — and ours for Him — inspires us to love others, our neighbors all across this glorious but unsettled world. How can we share God’s love?
Rev. Andrew Teal said: “There are so many ways to share God’s love. If you have the opportunity to say ‘I’m sorry, I got that wrong’ and build somebody else up, do. The mystery, the strange thing is that will build us up more than anything that we can accomplish or acquire. Never give up on the mercy of God. Never give up knowing that you can be a light to somebody else, without you knowing it, just by being who you are. The world needs our love.”
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.