For the past few years here at Saint Paul’s, we have read the Decalogue (the 10 Commandments) as the opening rite of our Sunday liturgy in Lent. With all apologies for how Episcopalian and pretentious that last sentence was, I have loved the pattern of weekly recitation of God’s Big 10.

There are all sorts of ways to break apart the ten commandments, which every congregation will hear read from Exodus this Sunday.  Most popular, if I had to guess, is to point to the first four as “Love God” and the final six as “Love Neighbor.”

My question this week, which I think I’m addressing in my sermon for Sunday is this, how did 10 Commandments, obviously concerned with love of God and love of neighbor turn into 613 laws that seem to be more concerned with who’s in and who’s out than anything else.  The obvious connection there is how did “Love God. Love neighbor” turn into the crazy mess that is Christianity today?

Rules are always necessary, but how do we keep them under control?

4 thoughts on “rules

  1. Could it be that although rules are necessary we often forget that they’re not
    the “Good News”. They’re not the message. However, the 10 Commandments
    were “written with the finger of God”. And the Hebrews were quite delighted with them it seems. They’re said to be the “highest moral code” of that time.
    Christianity is more difficult to practice. I’m sure some of my neighbors probably
    wish I would move.
    I find it somewhat sad that with all the beautiful service music in the Hymnal 1982 (index to appendix, et al); that there’s only one “Responses to the Decalogue” (I think, that’s correct-I may be wrong about that) and the one
    “Responses to the Decalogue” in the Hymnal 1982 is not my favorite- But then, the music is not the message either. Is there some sort of Hymnal Society like there are Prayer Book Societies? Don’t know answer to that one either. However, somehow, for some sort of reason, I manage to get things out of their proper perspective. But
    without rules, there are often quite a few hurt feelings. Some of those laws really bored me until I noticed that one doesn’t need a “low fat” guide since
    many of the meats forbidden are quite high in cholesterol. Were the 613 laws only for getting through the desert while the 10 Commandments were for the rest of their lives?

    • The lack of good service music goes well beyond the Decalogue, in my opinion, but perhaps the fact that there is only one setting for it reflects a modern discomfort with the whole Law thing.

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