- Exodus 19:3-7; 20:1-17
- Matthew 5:17-19
The 10 commandments are a central part of how we, as a covenant community, understand what it means to live with each other and with God. It is a matter of great debate how much they impact our civic legislation, because many of the precepts we find in them, particularly the last 6 which talk how we treat our neighbours, are found in law codes from other areas (such as the law code of Hammurabi). So maybe some of these are truly universal, and not a result of Judeo-Christian thought...
But we live in an era that seems to chafe at rules. Well sort of, we routinely click OK on terms and conditions of websites without reading or questioning the rules and regulations and permissions they include. But rules tell us what we can't do, and the idol of personal freedom and independence tells us that we should be able to do whatever we want. (Admittedly this plays out differently in different generations and at different ages)
DO we still think rules are important? And if so why?
Jesus tells us that he comes not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Christian freedom does not get rid of the rules (if anything Christian freedom places more restrictions as Jesus goes on to say in the Sermon on the Mount). If we are going to live in community we need to name that without rules we have anarchy. And anarchy means the weakest among us will be left on the figurative ice floe to drift away and die.
So how do we live in community? How do we deal with the need both to have rules about how we live and the need to challenge/discuss those rules to ensure they are accomplishing their purpose (or to ensure that purpose is worth accomplishing)? This week we will have a bit of that discussion, using the "Big 10" as our starting point.