Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9,12-20 – The 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time â€“ for October 2, 2011
â€œHonor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.â€ (Exodus 20:12)
In Mel Brooksâ€™ History of the World-Part 1 Moses departs the mountain with three stone tablets. He announces the event with, â€œThe Lord Jehovah has given us fifteen–â€
He dropped a tablet. Shattered. Hmmm?
â€œGod has given us ten commandments!â€
Once, at my United Methodist annual conference, with a thousand clergy and laity in tense debate over the values of faith, a pastor stood and declared all churches should have the Ten Commandments posted in the sanctuary. Every person, every Sunday, would be reminded of Godâ€™s laws. â€œIt should be exactly as the Bible said!â€
Another colleague took the floor and wondered if that meant the commandments would be written in Hebrew. After all, the English version of the commandments is rather Johnny-come-lately.
What commandment do you struggle with?
A character in a novel Iâ€™ve written, contemplating assisted suicide, mutters about a daughter-in-law who told him he would break the Ten Commandments if he acted out his wishes. She . . .Â “lectured me that the Ten Commandments said Thou Shalt Not Kill. With her finger wagging at me, she said, â€˜That means you killing yourself!â€™ He chuckled again, this time with a grimace. â€œI told her, â€˜Which of the three versions of the Commandments is that?â€™ And I said, because I wanted to be a nasty geezer, â€˜I prefer the Exodus 34 version where the last divine command is You Shall Not Boil A Kid In Its Motherâ€™s Milk.â€™â€
In a church I served, someone left a Bible in a classroom. No name anywhere. Week after week, it remained. Abandoned. I finally grabbed it and stayed alert to anyone who might claim his or her missing Bible. Eventually the Bible became part of my personal library. One of the first times I used it for sermon preparation, I discovered an odd thing. Continue reading →