I start off this post with the Decalogue, also known as the Ten Commandments. It is from Exodus 20: 1-17:
1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 ¶ I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 ¶ Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 ¶ Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 ¶ Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
8 ¶ Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:
10 but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12 ¶ Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
13 ¶ Thou shalt not kill.
14 ¶ Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 ¶ Thou shalt not steal.
16 ¶ Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
17 ¶ Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.
To me, these are very much a huge bulwark of not just the Jewish faith (as it is in the Old Testament, but of the Christian faith. Even in the Great Commandment in Matthew 22: 36-40, Jesus Christ himself says that to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy mind; and to love thy neighbor as thyself hangs all the law and the prophets.
What is the Law?
To the Christian, it is the Ten Commandments.
What has me even thinking about this is twofold.
One, Mrs. RVFTLC and I are taking a very serious class at our church called Education For Ministry. It is a mini-seminary put out by the University of the South, an Episcopal college in Tennessee.
Now, The Episcopal Church is way screwed up in many ways, but not in offering this course. It has made me think and understand a lot more about my Christian journey and faith.
And then I came across this post by my heathen friend, An Unmarried Man, about the Ten Commandants. It is HIS version as he sees it. But none the less, it was thought provoking.
Why should we care about the Ten Commandments? I mean, we break them, oh probably about 10 times a day almost everyone, right?
Well, I will refer you to the catechism in the Book of Common Prayer:
The Ten Commandments
Q. What are the Ten Commandments?
A. The Ten Commandments are the laws given to Moses
and the people of Israel.
Q. What do we learn from these commandments?
A. We learn two things: our duty to God, and our duty to
Q. What is our duty to God?
A. Our duty is to believe and trust in God;
I To love and obey God and to bring others to
II To put nothing in the place of God;
III To show God respect in thought, word, and
IV And to set aside regular times for worship,
prayer, and the study of God’s ways.
Q. What is our duty to our neighbors?
A. Our duty to our neighbors is to love them as ourselves,
and to do to other people as we wish them to do to us;
V To love, honor, and help our parents and
family; to honor those in authority, and to meet
their just demands;
VI To show respect for the life God has given us; to
work and pray for peace; to bear no malice,
prejudice, or hatred in our hearts; and to be
kind to all the creatures of God;
VII To use all our bodily desires as God intended;
VIII To be honest and fair in our dealings; to seek
justice, freedom, and the necessities of life for all
people; and to use our talents and possessions
as ones who must answer for them to God;
IX To speak the truth, and not to mislead others by
X To resist temptations to envy, greed, and
jealousy; to rejoice in other people’s gifts and
graces; and to do our duty for the love of God,
who has called us into fellowship with him.
Q. What is the purpose of the Ten Commandments?
A. The Ten Commandments were given to define our
relationship with God and our neighbors.
Q. Since we do not fully obey them, are they useful at all?
A. Since we do not fully obey them, we see more clearly our
sin and our need for redemption.
I prefer the version in the last real prayer book, the 1928 Book of Common Prayer,
but the last question above is most important.
Because if we do not know the commandments, how do we know what our sinful nature is and how do we seek the repentance from Almighty God?
At the very least, they are the guide which we should strive to live our lives.
But where have they gone?
Well, in the United States, it is clear that the War Against Religion in general and the War Against Christianity in particular, the Ten Commandments have been a major casualty.
The atheists, the Anti-Christians have done their best to make the Ten Commandments nothing more than some ancient stuff that needs to be eliminated from the modern world. Timeless as the teaching is, in today's secularized world, we do not need ANY guidance from God as to what is good, right and just. Nope. Science and so-called rationality is superior to this.
In my Christian denomination, the Ten Commandments can be said at the beginning of any celebration of the Holy Communion. At my parish, we are lucky to hear them read during Lent.
It is as if it is something that we can not hear and or take in today's world.
Yet we need them more than ever.
Look at what is under assault today.
Take the rejection of God Himself. Many people have just decided God is not great. That the wiles of the world are much better. Yet many of these people are unhappy or never satisfied.
What is the Graven Image today? How about the worship of celebrity? Of of politicians? Or of sports figures? Yep, we can do a lot of that yet take little time to worship God and Jesus.
Taking the Lord's name in vain is but to be expected nowadays. Even by people that are to me good and decent Christians. But if you do not make a mind to remember NOT to take the Lord's name in vain, well look at what happens?
The Sabbath Day? What stinking Sabbath Day? Sunday? Everything is open. Nothing is closed any more. In someways, Sunday is becoming but another day rather than the day to rest, relax and to make the time to worship God.
Honoring out parents?! WTF?! Yeah, I write such an acronym because we are making it an art form to not honor our parents. There are countless examples that are multiple posts. But we are doing what we can to diss out parents.
We seem to kill with ease.
Adultery seems to be as equal as marriage.
Stealing? Ahh, well that is done and totally justified no matter what.
Bearing false witness against one's neighbor? Again, done to save one's hide with great regularity.
Coveting what is not ours? Well, not to get overly political here, but that is Occupy Wall Street. Socialism, Fascism, Nazism, Communism. All believe in taking away someones perceived wealth and give it to those that covet it. No matter what. Although it does not say anywhere in the Ten Commandments, one can be rewarded through hard work. But again, that is a political discussion rather than one of faith.
Now, more than ever, we need the Ten Commandments to be emblazoned in our hearts and minds. We need to not be ashamed in knowing them, saying them and doing to the best ability to live them. Imperfect creatures that we are.
And where can we start.
By reading and knowing what the Ten Commandments are.