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God’s ten words

by davesandel on March 7th, 2021

Third Sunday of Lent, March 7, 2021           (today’s lectionary)

God’s ten words

In those days God delivered all these commandments. I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall have no other gods besides me.

I sit upright in my twenty-first century chair surrounded by electric light, but I imagine standing in a desert congregation at the foot of Mt. Sinai, listening to Moses, whose face is glowing. Moses speaks the words written on two tablets that he struggles to hold in both his hands high above his head. God’s presence flows over and through him. Two strong men come beside him and take the tablets. Moses’ voice thunders out above us.

I the Lord your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation, but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.

We have been gone from Egypt into the wilderness for what seems like years. There is nowhere else to go. God seduced us into this awful place, and we have been seduced. Without God we have no food, no water, no healing from disease … but Moses insists that we love and honor God, remember where we came from, and not try to take matters into our own hands. Stop complaining! Work and worship. Rest when it’s time to rest.

Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord, your God. On this seventh day, do no work.

And truly, when I get enough sleep, things don’t seem so bad. When I sit in temperance and quiet, enjoying the fresh air of the day rather than noticing my hunger and thirst, then I am no longer so hungry or thirsty! Imagine that, and then live that way. The habits of sabbath press themselves into my life on the other days as well. There is a joy here, a joie de vivre, that no longer quite eludes me.

Lord you have the words of everlasting life. They are more precious than gold, sweeter also than honey from the honeycomb.

LIVE BY THE RULES

1. Honor God with your LIFE.

2. Honor God with your HEART.

3. Honor God with your LIPS.

4. Honor God with your TIME.

5. Respect the sanctity of FAMILY.

6. Respect the sanctity of HUMAN LIFE.

7. Respect the sanctity of MARRIAGE.

8. Respect the sanctity of THINGS.

9. Live and Die by the TRUTH.

10. It’s ALL about ATTITUDE, so what do you REALLY want?

 In the fullness of time, we will inhabit our own land, build our own cities, even fashion a temple to worship our God, the same strong God who brings us on this hard journey. All of us will die, but our children will go on, and then their children, and theirs, and they will remember the stories of their fathers and mothers. At the moment of his choosing, God will send us our Messiah.

We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block and foolishness to many, but the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

What will Messiah have to say? How will he live? Will he rescue our people from deserts of our own making?

Jesus fashioned a whip of cords and drove out the moneychangers. “Get out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a den of thieves?”

Listening now to Moses, hearing his words penetrate the clear desert air, my soul begins to sing its song of joy. Moses’ words are the words of life. Only at first are they fearsome. I hear them and meditate on them, and the still sweet scents of sabbath rise up and give me peace.

(Exodus 20, Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 1, John 3, John 2)

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