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my neighbour & the glory of God

March 6, 2008

here’s something I learned early this morning that gave me pause. The Hebrew word for the glory of God’s presence on the earth is shekinah. I’ve heard people talk about, or I’ve read about the shekinah glory of God, often associated with the Tabernacle in the desert wanderings, and spoken of in terms of a shining light. For the scholars of Hebrew the root of the word is s-k-n.

Nothing particularly new there.

Here’s where it got interesting for me. The Hebrew word for neighbour is shakan, with the same root s-k-n.

Interesting that isn’t it?

There are lots of implications I think. When the writer of Genesis speaks of human beings being little ikons of God, it means my neighbour carries the shekinah glory. When Jesus is asked to define the greatest commandment (note: singular ‘commandment’) he is unable to do it, but ends up giving two:

‘love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And the second is like it, love your neighbour as yourself’
Matt 22:36-40

There is some intimate connection between loving the glory of God and loving my neighbour and no worship, no truth, no action can be divorced from the imperative of being a neighbour.

How typical of God to connect something as all-surpassing and wondrous as his own shining glory, and something as earthy and fleshly as my neighbour.

It also made me think again about my previous post and how appalling it must be for God when his people engage in acts of worship as Cain did, and yet still break their relationships with seeming impunity.

Love of the glory of God and love for neighbour cannot be distinguished. The one bears witness to and validates or proves the other in some way.

Anyway, that’s what I learned early this morning

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7 Comments
  1. Yeah!
    Image of God.
    No graven images. just God’s Law.
    Just love for our neighbour.
    Which law Jesus says is “like” the First Commandment:
    Loving God.
    S-K-N is a beautiful reflection and a new dimension for me. Thanks.
    🙂

  2. thanks cheryl.

  3. Beautiful post. I can’t help but want to stick and “i” in the middle of S-K-N and read it as “skin” — perhaps a mnemonic device to remember that we can’t love God without loving someone with skin on.

  4. wonderful idea Maria…with permission, I might use it!

    attributed of course.

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