The Rite One version of the liturgy of the Holy Eucharist uses the more ancient language. We usually use the more contemporary language of Rite Two at St. Alban’s. In that Rite One liturgy, a portion of last week’s Gospel passage is said near the beginning of the worship service. That portion is this:
“Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatt and first commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
When I was a child growing up in the church, that phrasing about “commandments hanging” conjured up all sorts of images for me. When I thought of something hanging, I thought of meat hanging on a hook or clothes hanging on a clothesline or a criminal hanging from the gallows. As a boy, the image of “hanging” was rich with possibilities.
All of us hang onto something. Some people hang everything on their success. Others hang everything on their hobbies or on sports. Others hang everything on their children or their pets. We all hang our lives on something.
Yet Jesus says to hang everything on our love of God. And hang everything on loving others. For on these two commandments of love, everything hangs.