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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Brief reflections on the Ten Commandments

10/4
Quick stop late in the day. The Revolutionary Communists leaving after a long meeting. Frog & Peach taking a break during final rehearsals for Titus Andronicus. Berik working alone on his computer.

10/5

Today we’re  starting a new series: …He’s got the whole world in his hands..and our theme of the day, Back to Basics.

We’ve got no other accompanist today, so after we finish Psalm 19, I play the Melodians By the Rivers of Babylon:

By the rivers of Babylon
Where we sat down
And there we wept
When we remembered Zion.
Oh the wicked carry us away, captivity
Require of us a song.
How can we sing Jehovah’s song in a strange land?
Oh let the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts
Be acceptable in thy sight, Oh Lord.

Our sermon text today is Exodus 20: 1-14, 7-9, 12-20, the  Ten commandments. I start by saying here’s a lot converging. World Communion  Sunday. World peace day. The end of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. The Muslim Eid al Aha. This is where we begin our look at the whole world in  God’s hands…with a look at our most basic legal, moral code.

There are different ways to organize. To count.  In Hebrew, it’s the ten words, or  the ten sayings. Leading to the Greek, Decalogue, 10 words…It was The Geneva Bible that was first to use tenne commandements. In fact in Hebrew, the word  TORAH is more accurately translated teaching, than LAW.

There are only two positives and eight negatives.

The Ten Commandments get down to basics, to worship only God, the greatest injury to another  person (murder), the greatest injury to family bonds (adultery), the greatest injury to commerce and law (bearing false witness), the greatest inter-generational obligation (honor to parents), the greatest obligation to community (truthfulness), the greatest injury to movable property (theft).

The writing of these ten commandments most likely dates to the time of Solomon…foundational rules for organizing a kingdom…..and they have a universal quality. BASICS.

We talk about those that are problematic. Like thou shalt not kill, which we have now understand is closer to murder. And stealing, especially in a day when businesses steal more from employees than burglary, larceny and robbery combined. As we’ve learned from our anti-sweatshop friends, from the most vulnerable workers. And envy, that one is really hard…

Anna remarks on the absence of gluttony. One of the seven deadlies, but not the big ten

Ultimately, I feel like all the commandments after the first are simply variations of idolatry, having other gods beside god.  Last week we talked about authoritywho’s in charge…and this comes back to  that question…perhaps ALL truly are based on first….

We sing He’s got he whole world in his hands…the old children’s song…and the  officially welcome Anna into membership as Leila stands by her side on behalf of the session.
Anna, Blueberry, Leila and Puppy

The after communion, we do our St. Francis moment and bless puppy and Blueberry both under Anna’s care today.

 I stay after service to wait for Tina. She was trying to get here for worship, but didn't quite make it. She’s come with her friend Martha. An artist who has painted a beautiful portrait of Tina. She keeps waiting for the loss of Teddy to get easier. It’s going on two years now. But it doesn’t. I understand how she feels. Sometimes it’s hard to let yourself grieve because you’re not sure how stop. I know. No easy answers. But she has an amazing life force, and sense of humor, that is indefatigable. I admire her. And appreciate the laughter. Outside on the steps, it’s as close to perfect an October day as you’ll get.




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