Grace and peace to you,
Well, in these parts, people who are eighty and over are making their vaccination appointments and getting immunized against COVID-19. And more vaccines are on the way. There are still outbreaks here and there, and they are still very dangerous, but the numbers are nowhere near as frightening as they were over the previous couple of months. We are inching towards spring and, more importantly, towards Easter. There are hopeful signs, even in the midst of continuing loss and heavy grief.
To the people of the Anglican Churches in Huron, I want to encourage you to be hopeful in God.
Even as things continue to go well, we are still going to be in the Amber stage of the church guidelines for several more months. So, I encourage church leaders to refamiliarize yourself with those Amber Stage guidelines, if you haven’t done so already. There is a lot that we can still do safely within those guidelines. I look forward to when things are safer still. Soon we’ll be able to take some of our activities outside for longer periods of time.
The easiest thing is still to wear a mask and keep enough distance.
Speaking of guidelines . . . the readings for the third Sunday of Lent this year have us looking at Exodus 20, The Decalogue, the Ten Commandments and, in the Gospel, we see Jesus in the Temple throwing things around, trying to put a stop to commerce in the place of communion.
And we hear from the first Corinthian letter that great ode to the wisdom and power of God as revealed in the foolishness of the Cross.
Wow, preachers and scriptures-lovers have some material to work with this week!!
The ten commands are a summary of the Law – one that most of us know, from our various catechisms and teachings
- no other gods
- no idols
- don’t abuse the name of the Lord
- remember the Sabbath *
- honour your parents *
(noticing that not all the commandments are negative)
- no murder
- no adultery
- no stealing
- don’t be a lying witness
- don’t covet
This is more than good advice. It’s a way to stay in covenant with God and with community—your neighbour.
Notice, the first thing here is God saying, directly to us, I am Yahweh, your God. I saved you, made you free. You can trust me. I’m here, I’m alive, I want to have a covenant relationship with you. Here’s a little list that will begin to help you to do two things: 1. not mess it all up. 2. stay on the way of life.
If fail to keep these commands, you will not just have committed a misdemeanor, but you will have cut away at the very fibre of the divine-human relationship. The ten commands represent both the outer boundary and the way to live within the circle of the covenant.
It’s a gift. It’s positive content. It’s a guide for the redeemed. It’s help for the beloved people of God, guarding us against the way of death and pointing us to the way of life.
May we open ourselves to the gift of divine guidance and may the God of mercy transform you by grace.