“I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of Egypt and out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods besides Me” (Deuteronomy 5:6)
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37)
“I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things” (Nicene Creed)
We recite it so simply and quickly, as though it is so obvious that it needs no discussion; however, we live in a world that challenges that fundamental truth and imposes the implications of its significance throughout society. Our culture emphasizes the rights of the individual to such an extent that we have all but lost the contrasting truth of unity in oneness of conviction.
The Hebrew people led out of Egypt by Moses were taught by the great prophet the essentials of their faith. Above all else was the absolute belief in one God. They could and did dispute the laws of the Almighty, His rules and obligations, but never the truth that God is one and there is no other. He is a jealous God and will not share authority with another. When Jesus Christ calls His followers to love the Lord more than any human relation including parents, children or spouse, He is lifting up the implications of that exclusive love for God.
When the human being sets himself or herself in the first place before the Lord Almighty, which is generally called “humanism,” what follows is a rearrangement of values. When I ask the meaning of life for me – why am I living, what is the root from which I draw my morals and actions, what is the basis for making any and all decisions, right and wrong are not absolute but rather determine what is good for me at any moment of time. God may be the Creator of all that exists, including me. He may have a plan that caused me to be brought into the world and live with some purpose in His mind. However, unless I can understand or figure out what that purpose is all about, it really doesn’t motivate me to try to direct my life as though I can or should know. Let the Church say that I am alive only by the grace of the Holy Spirit, I thank the Spirit, even the Father and Christ Jesus, but it has no absolute significance regarding the decisions I make or the pathway that I follow.
The above may describe the vast majority of people with whom we share the present time and space. On the other hand, if I take the gospel of Christ seriously at face value and seek to learn the hidden message underlying the words and actions of my Lord [and I have no right to call Him that unless I accept the conditions of being first a servant, then a disciple, and ultimately the friend of Jesus], I should begin by accepting the basic truth: I believe in one God. Nothing that exists is outside of the orbit of His creation, including myself. Every thing – each atom and molecule – is part of His plan, and while I do not understand much of it, I believe in His grand plan. I accept it in faith. I shall do my utmost to diminish self-reliance and reach out to unity with my Lord, directly in prayer and indirectly through unity with all others. I do not need to even know my true name – God knows it, just as He can see where I am headed and how far or near I am to fulfilling His idea of whom I should be.