The word SHEMA means you hear, and I mean REALLY hear!
This is the great SHEMA, which means: Hear this. Listen up. Pay attention. We often talk about the importance of listening, of getting to a place of quiet attentiveness, of being still internally.
Quiet. Silence. Solitude. Listening. These are beautiful and invaluable spiritual practices and pathways. But, the emphasis is not on being quiet or silent or listening. No, that would be turning the means or the pathways into the end.
The end is what you hear when you listen.
The end is what you notice when you are attentive.
The end is what you become mindful of (what your mind is full of) when you are quieted.
If you do not hear what the SHEMA tells you to hear, your listening has done you little lasting good. We listen to learn, to understand, to be enlightened, to be illumined that God is the Lord. We listen and learn that we are to love this God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
We listen and discover that the greatest single reality we must hear is that the love of God (meaning our love of God, our love FOR God) is the non-negotiable reality. It is the one duty, the one all-consuming experience we are meant to have.
If you love me, you will keep my commandments – John 14:15
We are designed to love the Lord our God. These words must be heard again and again and again and again and again, for our heart is not inclined to love the Lord. Our heart is inclined to use God for personal benefit, for whatever we define as the greatest benefit to ourselves. To love the Lord is to obey the Lord. It is Jesus who said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
In our self-oriented world, we have reversed what is most important. We have decided that what is most important is to be loved by God.
SHEMA tells us what is most important is that we love the Lord our God, for it is only in a covenantal relationship of loving the Lord that we will truly experience the love of the Lord for us.
Listening along with you for the Word of the Lord,