"Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might." (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
These familiar verses are the beginning of "The Shema", which consists of three sections of scripture, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Deuteronomy 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37-41. Together, these three readings are a central component for morning and evening prayer for observant Jews. The opening verse of the Shema is an affirmation of faith – a declaration of monotheism.
"Shema" is the transliteration of the Hebrew word meaning "hear". It is the word on the right in the text box. Hebrew is read from right to left. The second word is "Israel". It is striking that an essential prayer in Judaism is simply known as "Shema", "Hear". Our first task is to hear; our first posture is one of recipient.
This summer, in both worship and Bible study, we will be hearing from the book of Deuteronomy. I invite you to participate in this exploration of a major book of the Bible by first he aring what it has to say, affirming our faith in God, and then responding with love of God.
May the peace of Christ be with you.