Throughout Advent, we posted blogs each week based on the Lectionary Readings for the previous Sunday. It was truly an awesome experience to travel through Advent with the universal church by praying, meditating, and responding to those texts. We loved it so much, thought we’d do it again throughout Lent.
And God spoke all these words:
“I am YHWH your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself a graven image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, YHWH your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not misuse the name of YHWH your God, for YHWH will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to YHWH your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days YHWH made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore YHWH blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
“Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land YHWH your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
— Exodus 20:1-17 (NIV)
YHWH had just brought Israel out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, after the Israelites had lived in Egypt for 430 years (Exodus 12:40). They had been in slavery for generations. God had to teach Israel how to be a people again, how to be community, how to be family. God gave ten commandments to teach them, “This is how we do things in our family.” When God rescues us from the captivity of sin, we are adopted into a new family–His family, the Kingdom of God. God has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and led us into His family of light.
In this family, we give our Father all of our devotion and loyalty.
In this family, we will find that Father is all we need. We don’t need to look anywhere else, but only in Him.
In this family, we set apart language that we use only when we’re talking to or about Father.
In this family, we set aside the day of rest that our Father gives us in our weekly schedule.
In this family, we honor those who love, train, and discipline us.
In our family, we choose to forgive and love others.
In our family, we stick together faithfully. We can count on each other.
In our family, give generously to others.
Our family is a family of truth. In our family, we are truthful.
In our family, we know that Father gives us everything we need, and we are content in following His way.
Essentially, what it all comes down to, is in our family, we love Father with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength. And we love our neighbor as ourselves.