Hear God’s Guidance
Dave Brown of Lee’s Summit, MO, USA
Then God spoke all these words:
…you shall have no other gods before me…
You shall not make for yourself an idol…
You shall not bow down to them or worship them…
You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God…
Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy…
Honor your father and your mother…
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… -Exodus 20:1, 4-5, 7-8, 12-17
As the church prepared to change its name to Community of Christ in 2001, I was reminded of an affirmation of that change I had not fully understood previously. My memory was of the way a church school teacher had introduced me to the Ten Commandments as a youth. We had spent time reading the Exodus scripture and learning about how the Israelites had come to the wilderness of Sinai. As we focused on Exodus 20, she led a discussion about what we thought these words of guidance from God meant to each of us.
I remember hearing comments from classmates about what we thought were some of the easier statements to understand. We talked about how we should act toward others. The discussion included comments like I shouldn’t steal anything, I shouldn’t make up bad stories about my friends, and I should treat my mother and father with respect.
But then, our teacher shifted our discussion. She said we had been giving examples of what each of us should do individually. Those were good things to think about, and we should remember our ideas. But then she wanted us to think about what these words mean to us as a community. She encouraged us to think about how our congregation members should act together.
It took a little while for us to understand she meant how as a group we should treat others who are not part of our group. More than that, how should we help others who are not part of our congregation? We learned an important lesson with the discussion. We learned that a community is not defined by who is not part of the group. We learned a community is created by choosing to reach out to everyone for whom we can provide help.
I still use that experience to remind me to read scripture in at least two contexts. What is it saying to me personally? What is it saying to us as Community of Christ?
Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
Gospel Contemplation (Mark 1:9-11)
Each week during Lent, you are invited to pray with a different gospel story from the life of Christ. Use your senses and imagination to enter the text. Allow it to come to life in you, observing details, noticing interactions, even engaging in dialogue. Notice where you find yourself in the story and how you feel about what is happening. Notice what it evokes in you or invites of you. Take time to journal or enter silent prayer to reflect on your experience and to sense where the Spirit may be leading you through this scriptural encounter.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.