March 1

Exodus 20:1-11

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.” vss. 2-3

Most people are familiar with the Ten Commandments, though only a few would be able to name more than a few of them. They’re a staple of education in our churches, and it is commonly felt that they’re important for directing our daily living. In our scriptures it can easily be seen that they come to us in two sections, the first three or four (depending upon our numbering system) have to do with our relationship with God, and the last six or seven cover our community connections. While it’s unlikely that they were etched in stone by the flaming finger of God on Mount Sinai, they do represent our ancestors’ best attempt at summarizing the centrality of God in our human existence. Over against the common polygamy of their time, those faith pioneers asserted that there is but one God, and that we are the people of God. They then remind us that God’s name is precious and not to be used lightly, and that all creation should enjoy a Sabbath rest, a special day for worship and meditation. Of course, as is our tendency, we’ve turned these words of grace into rigid and binding rules and regulations, often obscuring the love and mercy that are at the heart of God. To have God at the center of our universe is a wonderful gift and not at all an onerous burden!

Thought for the Day: How do I keep the Sabbath day holy?

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