[his] name led all the rest

Today I’ve been thinking about these verses:  Anyone who claims to live in God’s light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark.  It’s the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. ~ Peterson’s paraphrase of 1 John 2:9-10

As I thought about this concept of loving my brothers and sisters, I ran across this poem …

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight of his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:-
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
‘What writest thou?’ – The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered ‘The names of those who love the Lord.’
‘And is mine one?’ said Abou. ‘Nay, not so,’
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said ‘I pray thee then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.’

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names who love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.
~James Leigh Hunt

The poet understood that loving one’s brother goes hand in hand with loving God.   Jesus coupled the commandment to love the Lord with loving others as we love ourselves.  

C. S. Lewis wrote, “And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners–no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat, the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden. “

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