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Exodus 20:1-17 “The Original Top Ten List” 20150308 RSUMC

Nahalal_Israel_JezrelValleyThen God spoke all these words: 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. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. [NRSV]

Learning the Commandments (Commandment: This defines us, Chain link fence a school)

  1. You shall have no other gods before me. (What about gods after, is it ok to have God number or but not exclusive, so we can have God’s cake and eat our icing?)
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. (What if we use images made by nature that God has created, unmodified by human hands, can we worship a rock or natural formation?)
  3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. (What name or names of God does this apply? What is Wrongful use? Is this limited to liable and slander but does it include thoughts or expressed?)
  4. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. (Is this Saturday or Sunday? Does Tuesday count if I keep the others days for work and rest on Tuesday? What is work? What about cousins, volunteers, pets and enemies?)
  5. Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (What if parents are not keeping the commandments? Son go steal? Daughter lie for me?)
  6. You shall not murder. (What if I think about or talk about it but don’t carry it out?) BTW: I thought it was don’t kill, who changed it? What trimester? Is capital punishment murder or justice?)
  7. You shall not commit adultery. (What if we are engaged? What if we use protection? What if everyone is doing it? What if you are intoxicated and don’t know what you’ve done?)
  8. You shall not steal. (So God would rather we starve to death, than take food off the table of the rich?)
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (What about their neighbor, your enemies?
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (What about your neighbor’s neighbor, who is my neighbor? what about my enemy’s stuff?)

Short List

  1. No Other Gods
  2. Make No Idols
  3. No Name Misuse
  4. No work on the Sabbath
  5. Honor your parents
  6. No murder
  7. No adultery
  8. No stealing
  9. No false witness against your neighbor
  10. No coveting your neighbor and their stuff

Terse List

One God, No Idols, Defamation, Work on Sabbath, Honor Parents, No Murder, Adultery, Stealing, Lying, Nor Coveting

Back to One

One Rule in the garden

10 Commandments on the mountain

613 Laws of Moses

Over 40K Laws, Codes, Statutes, Regulations, Policies, Case-law, Executive Order, Standing Rules, Binders, Contracts, Covenants on Federal, State, County, City and HOA levels of legal action, intent and guideline that are ever growing

SO WHAT

Rather than look for loopholes, look for God

Rather than be constrained by laws, trust grace that completes the law

You and I are not worthy, we are not perfect, but Christ is Worthy and through him we move toward perfection.

Toward WHOLENESS,

Toward becoming most fully the people God created and hopes we will become in this and each day.

TAKE this time of JOURNEY, to memorize the ten commandment, to see how they DO apply to our lives and do provide the boundary.

Instead of trying to think how will we make it snow to get a day off of school, focus on learning how weather patterns work and make learning

Same with the big 10.

Keep them, don’t write them off has too few, too old or too incomplete..

Keep them, through grace of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of God.

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Luke 19:1-10 “Trying to $ee Jesus” JUMC 20131101

TreeSpiderMan

He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” [NRSV]

Our communities are generally more concerned about Halloween than celebrating all the Saints who have died and found the promises of eternal life and love fulfilled during this weekend of celebrations. Even fewer are trying to hold the memory of the saints in a high place of honor while addressing lessons of stewardship for the upcoming Stewardship Sunday next week. But here we are faced with the reality of context in the face of the power of the lectionary text: Zacchaeus the Wee, Little man.

As we listen carefully to this passage we can learn a good deal about Zack and ourselves. First this man was a notorious cheat and swindler of the community. His reputation and status was made through taking advantage of his position to profit from some of the poorest of neighbors.  Taxes, user fees, registrations, licenses, and mandated participations in medical plans are all forms of taxes. They are always up for debate for everyone except for those who collect them and those who profit from them. Everyone else would like to avoid paying any more than they must pay. Zach not only had the unpopular task of collecting these funds, he also used the occasion to collect an acquisition fee on top of the tax has his income. He had the opportunity to define the amount of profit he would make from collecting unpopular taxes. Together this made him to be the least likely to befriend in the neighborhood.

It is no wonder that folks did not cut him any slack in finding his way to see Jesus who was visiting their town. Secondly we learn that Zach was not only not respected and excluded from popularity contests, he was none the less, curious about Jesus. This is actually a refreshing picture of those that we least favor in our communities. Even the least respected and most avoided can be curious about Jesus. And this is the chink in the armor that opens the door of grace for us all.

Zach, actually is more than curious; he takes extra steps to make a way to Jesus. He sets up the occasion to have a better perspective and even a chance meeting with Jesus. When the community of faith had given up on him, Zach remains interested enough to do some homework and recon work himself to create an opportunity to meet Jesus. If you have never taken the opportunity to participate in the Walk to Emmaus retreat ministry, you should attend. It is a concentrated effort to create opportunities for someone to meet Christ and to grow closer in her or his relationship with Christ. (Visit the Upperroom.org and check it out.) Zach has made his own little retreat in the top of a tree, hoping to gain a new perspective and understanding of Jesus.

Rather than simply being a spectator, Jesus calls Zach into a relationship of participation. Jesus does what the community has refused to do because of Zach’s behavior and destruction of the community.  Jesus includes the stranger. Jesus opens the heart and home of the one who has no relationship. Jesus makes a way through honesty, confession and accountability when others are blocking access, even when it might seem justified. Jesus opens the heart.

When Zach’s heart is touched, he moves to confession and repentance. Without any prescription for restitution he begins to make things whole. Why, because when Jesus reaches out to this searching soul, Jesus is making him whole and out of wholeness responds by making things right or complete.

As a Stewardship message: it is out of wholeness that we learn to give what is holy. We might start with a Rx of 10% but finally mature to see that it might take more than a percent. It might take out whole lives.

As a Transformation message: it is the shift from Zaccheus making the plan and ruling the community, into Jesus making the plans and Jesus shaping the hearts of the WHOLE community.

As a practical message for us all: This example is not just about the rich, not about the oppressors, those to blame. It is also for the crowd that judged Zach as unreachable, unloveable, and beyond trust.. Jesus sees what is hiding in all of us and invites himself into the hearts and homes of those who are seeking.

Our task is to help each other seek Christ. In the streets or in our homes, in business or in church, back then and right now. Jesus desires to be at home with you and me. Let us go with him and all be make whole.

 

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