The Way Out of Darkness

John_Steinbeck_1962In the evening a strange thing happened: the twenty families became one family, the children were the children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream. And it might be that a sick child threw despair into the hearts of twenty families, of a hundred people; that a birth there in a tent kept a hundred people quiet and awestruck through the night and filled a hundred people with the birth-joy in the morning. A family which the night before had been lost and fearful might search its goods to find a present for a new baby. In the evening, sitting about the fires, the twenty were one.

~John Steinbeck, from The Grapes of Wrath


The greatest threat to unity is plenty because in prosperous times a man thinks he doesn’t need anyone.  After a while he doesn’t even think he needs God because, after all, look at what he’s accomplished by himself. Touch a man with sickness or poverty however and he soon reaches a point of inner darkness that will either drive him to the destruction of bitter self-pity, or outward in search of help.  This is the power of the two greatest commandments.

Heart to God, hand to man, out of darkness, into light.

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Matthew 22:34-40

But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”