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COUNTRY PASTOR: Your prime directive is to love

Have you ever heard of this wacky, fun and totally sci-fi franchise known as Star Trek? I have a confession. For the longest time, I could not tell other people that I loved Star Trek, Star Wars and all things science fiction related. (And I guess, now you all know. Oh well...)

Well, if you've watched any of those shows or movies, you may recall the mission of the Enterprise, which was "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before."

Though the calling of the Enterprise and subsequent starships evolved over time, there was one guiding principle that directed everything they did, and it was called their "Prime Directive." The prime directive was simple; they were forbidden from interfering with the internal development (evolution) of alien civilizations. Thus, if they encountered a people who were different than themselves—and even if they passionately disagreed with the way the alien civilization treated each other or did things—they were supposed to leave things be. Their calling was to contact, observe and document other civilizations; they were not to interfere with the ways other civilizations organized themselves, executed justice, behaved, etc. However, as simple of a rule as that was, they often did not obey it. Often, someone on the Enterprise—being motivated by their conscience—wanted to intervene and stop something they believed was wrong or immoral. But, had they obeyed the Prime Directive, they would have left things alone.

The Prime Directive reminds me of the Christian gospel.

How? You might ask? Please allow me to explain.

When Jesus came to earth and lived among humankind, he taught all who followed him a Prime Directive, too—a guiding principle that was supposed to guide everything else. Do you know what that was? Here, I will let Jesus speak for himself. (Matthew 22:37-39), "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as

yourself.'"

It's so simple. Isn't it?

You see, our Prime Directive as followers of Jesus Christ, is simple. We are called to love God and to love others as we love ourselves. It really is simple. And yet, it is so hard to do.

For some reason, when my wife is with me and says that one thing that really triggers me (most of the time by accident), I don't always catch myself and respond to her the way I would love for her to respond to me. And so, I find myself, sometimes not loving others in ways I would love for them to love me.

And yet, this is our Prime Directive, that one principle that is meant to filter out and guide all the other things we do in life. In fact, the Apostle Paul reminds us in 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 1-3, that you can be the smartest person in the world capable of understanding the greatest mysteries or you can be the most generous person in the world giving everything to others or you can be the person with the strongest faith, and yet if you do not have love, you are nothing, you have nothing, and you've gained nothing.

Love, my friends in the faith of Jesus Christ, is our aim, our goal, and the one thing that must guide everything else. Nothing else matters. As Leo Tolstoy wrote, "Where love is, God is also."

So, love someone today. Treat them as you want to be treated. And God will bless you in ways you have yet to dream up.

Blessings and Peace!

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