The Ten Commandments…and the Greatest Commandment

Below is the text from the reflection that was presented on Sunday, March 11th. Some of this was an ad-lib but I tried to stay as close as possible to these concepts.

Ten Commandments given to the ancient Israelite people. Ten hard and fast rules to live by. Some of them are pretty easy to keep. I haven’t felt the urge to murder anyone recently so I’m good there. I have no intention of stealing anything but I suppose that might change if I had no job or money. Coveting my neighbour’s possessions might get difficult too; there are some pretty nice cars out there I might like. I’m not planning on committing adultery…mostly because if I do Charlene might have trouble with the murder one.

So that’s four of the easy ones to remember for just about everyone. Some of the others are mostly known just by us Christians: no Gods before, um, Him, no idols, keep the Sabbath, don’t take his name in vain.

Then there’s the one all parents like…honour thy father and mother.

There’s another one that I usually forget because it doesn’t come up often…oh yeah, don’t bear false witness.

So there they are, ten commandments given to the Israelite people. It might have been easier if Moses stopped there, but no, he has to go and finish writing the Book of Exodus. In it we get a few more “laws” that we are supposed to follow; 613 more laws if memory serves. All kinds of things get covered: what to eat, how to cook it, how to eat it, when to eat it, who to eat it with, how to become clean again after eating it, who we can sleep with, who we can’t sleep with, when we can’t sleep with someone we can sleep with, etc, etc, etc.

Is it any wonder people have become confused knowing how they are supposed to behave?

Then God sent Jesus down to cleanse us of our sins. I wonder if part of his mission was also to straighten out this whole commandments and laws issue. Maybe God accepted the fact that we just couldn’t keep all those rules straight.

So Jesus made it simple for us. He condensed all those commandments and laws into the Greatest Commandment:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

And the second was this:

Love your neighbour as yourself.

Simple, straight forward, to the point. I think anyone can keep these straight.

So when you think of doing something that might be wrong, think whether you would want it done to you. If the answer is no…then don’t do it!

And when you are wondering how much of your time, treasure and talent you should dedicate in one way or another to the Lord, the answer to that question is pretty obvious as well. God comes before everything, but not at the expense of the second command. I think Jesus included the second part so we wouldn’t forget that while we’re waiting to live with God, we have to live with our brothers and sisters here on Earth.

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