Linda’s foundational learning began at home, as it should. She learned colors, numbers, the alphabet, animals and their voices, along with the names of a few shapes—these happened as she was prepared for kindergarten.
Kindergarten prepared her for elementary school, which as you would hope, led to middle and high school. Eventually, at the age of 17, a joyous graduation party erupted at the time of commencement. The basics are accomplished! Calls for a celebration, no doubt about it.
Linda remembers how her family supported her. She confesses she does not recall those earliest of lessons. Were they unimportant?
Without those fundamental learnings Linda would not be the successful professional she is today. She remarked, “Each of us begin with the basics, otherwise there is just no progress.”
One fundamental lesson taught by Jesus (the Master Educator), originates in the Torah. Perhaps you know the Torah is found within the Hebrew Bible—the Old Testament, and it is the only Bible Jesus ever read. Please watch an emphatic progression in God’s foundational instruction for it is God saying, “Don’t miss this!”
First, the words from the Torah found in Leviticus 19:18: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” This is a fundamental learning, given to God’s people in the long ago. Jesus would have heard these words during his childhood because it is an elementary truth.
Second, Jesus follows through in emphasizing God’s instruction, often giving us examples of neighborliness by caring for those he meets. Jesus also emphasizes the message “love your neighbor as yourself,” as he repeats the old phrase recorded in the Torah. Jesus’ energizing words are found in Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31 and Luke 10:27.
Finally, the progression leads to us, ensuring one of God’s elementary instructions moves forward in time. We know God speaks to the disciples of each generation when, through an Apostle the identical phrase appears in a letter of the New Testament.
Paul writes to the church(es) of Galatia (5:14) repeating the words of the Torah and the re-emphasis of Jesus when he calls disciples to: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It is an elementary lesson. It is foundational to who we are as God’s people. Today, what are we to do about the fundamental instruction during the months of a Corona virus pandemic?
- Glen Scrivener provides assistance in answering this precise question. He reviews church history by documenting the response of disciples in other days as they responded to similar health crises. Glen Scrivener, Responding to Pandemics: 4 Lessons from Church History, March 16, 2020
2. An elementary twenty-first century approach: One of my newest neighbors recently toured the subdivision giving out bars of anti-bacterial soap. A simple and profoundly generous act of neighborliness—kind of like giving a cup of cold water in Jesus’ Name—Matthew 10:42.