This Sunday’s text is the second telling of the Ten Commandments, the telling of the commandments just before the Israelites enter the land of milk and honey. So this is not the generation that left Egypt, most of them are dead, but the next generation, the ones who will inherit the land.
I wonder, what are the Ten Commandments by which you order your life? Are they Love Your Father and Mother? Or are they more like, “Love your family, even at their worst?” Are they “You shall not make an idol?” Or are they, “Go to church and try to acknowledge God at least once every day?”
I have to be honest and say that the Ten Commandments seem old fashioned to me. I mean, I keep Sabbath, but not technically on the Friday/Saturday Shabbat of my Jewish friends, and I totally work on Sundays. I keep Sabbath a few minutes here and a few minutes there, often from a yoga mat or while I’m on a long walk.
So how can we make them more relevant today? I mean, I haven’t coveted my neighbor’s ass, because he doesn’t have one! Kathryn Schifferdecker, over at WorkingPreacher says that these same words are to be kept today, that we are the audience, according to verse 3, “Not with our ancestors did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today.”
I believe these words are as relevant as ever, in a time where Black lives are lost (thou shall not murder), where infidelity in marriage is common (neither shall you commit adultery), where the almighty dollar is god (you shall have no other gods before me). They are no more difficult to keep that they were in Moses’ time.
How will you preach?
- Pick just one commandment, and preach from it.
- Preach the first four, as they relate with our relationship with God.
- Preach the final six, as they relate with our relationship with one another.
- Or talk about who they are for–for us, these peculiar people of the covenant with God, as our part of the bargain, what makes us different than others, or even as what piety looks like.
Let us know where you’re heading in the comments, so that it may go well with you!
Rev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers(Chalice Press, 2013).
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