Psalms 40, 54; Deut. 10: 12-22; Heb. 4: 11-16; John 3: 22-36
This meditation is based on some reflections from Deuteronomy 10:12-22. The writer repeats the question/commandment given to (the children of) Israel: “What does the Lord your God require of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I command you this day for your good.”
In our country in recent decades, religious literalists have made much turbulence in their desire to use the Ten Commandments in public spaces, as if we Christians still lived solely under the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses.
A retired priest at St Margaret’s recently shared with me that the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic Law are subsumed in the so-called “Beatitudes” and the subsequent elaborations in the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5. Most of us are familiar with the beginning of the Holy Eucharist Rite 1 in the BCP p.324, where there is a choice between saying the words of the Ten Commandments or the Summary of the Law: “Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Elaborated in the Sermon on the Mount, we see more is expected of Christians. One is blessed when one finds oneself “poor in spirit,” mourning, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, being merciful, having a pure heart, acting the peacemaker---in all of these difficult situations we face on a daily basis, God promises to show up.
None of us wants to be poor in spirit or discouraged, none of us wants to find ourselves in mourning, or in the midst of unrighteousness hungering and thirsting for the opposite, or in the position of having to be merciful when a tough judgment initially appears to be the more just decision, or having to broker a peace in the midst of hostility on both sides, be it international or in one’s own neighborhood, but we are regularly blessed when we face any or all of these unhappy situations---because we trust the Spirit to assist us in obeying the Ten Commandments, in living closer to the Spirit, depending on the guidance of God’s grace.
John Poynter has been a member of St. Margaret’s since 2009. He is a Lay Eucharistic Minister and an Altar Guild member.