Posted On My Heart

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9,12-20 – The 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time – for October 2, 2011

“Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

In Mel Brooks’ History of the World-Part 1 Moses departs the mountain with three stone tablets. He announces the event with, “The Lord Jehovah has given us fifteen–”


He dropped a tablet. Shattered. Hmmm?

“God has given us ten commandments!”

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 God’s laws. “It should be exactly as the Bible said!”

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 I’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 . . .  “lectured me that the Ten Commandments said Thou Shalt Not Kill. With her finger wagging at me, she said, ‘That means you killing yourself!’ He chuckled again, this time with a grimace. “I told her, ‘Which of the three versions of the Commandments is that?’ And I said, because I wanted to be a nasty geezer, ‘I prefer the Exodus 34 version where the last divine command is You Shall Not Boil A Kid In Its Mother’s Milk.’”

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 →