Tuesday, November 3, 2015

WMTRBW Week 10: Getting the Slavery Out of the People

This week in worship, our focus was on the gift (yes, gift!) of the Ten Commandments to God's newly liberated people. As they left years of slavery in Egypt, they had to learn--probably for the first time--what it means to live as a free people, answering to God rather than Pharaoh. The Ten Commandments were meant to lead them into a very different sort of life!

We spent a good chunk of our time on Sunday just listening to the commandments--hearing them read, and singing them. We read several different versions, including Brian McLaren's version from this week's chapter in We Make the Road by Walking, "Getting the Slavery Out of the People."

At the end of each chapter there are a series of wonderful questions and also a challenge for something concrete to do in response to the chapter this week. This challenge is called "Activate," and I really like McLaren's suggestion for this week:

Each day this week, reread the Ten Commandments as worded in this chapter. (Maybe send them to yourself and others via e-mail or social media.) Look for ways this ancient moral code is relevant in today’s world—and in your life.

To help you in this, here are the commands for you to read. Print this page off, perhaps, and post them somewhere you will see them often, or at least a couple of times a day--by your computer, or on a bathroom or bedroom mirror. 

1. Put the God of liberation first, not the gods of slavery. 
2. Don’t reduce God to the manageable size of an idol—certainly not one made of wood and stone by human hands, and not one made by human minds of rituals and words, either, and certainly not one in whose name people are enslaved, dehumanized, or killed! 
3. Do not use God for your own agendas by throwing around God’s holy name. If you make a vow in God’s name, keep it! 
4. Honor the God of liberation by taking and giving everyone a day off. Don’t keep the old 24/7 slave economy going. 
5. Turn from self-centeredness by honoring your parents. (After all, honor is the basis of freedom.) 
6. Don’t kill people, and don’t do the things that frequently incite violence, including: 
7. Don’t cheat with others’ spouses, 
8. Don’t steal others’ possessions, and 
9. Don’t lie about others’ behaviors or characters. 
10. In fact, if you really want to avoid the violence of the old slave economy, deal with its root source—in the drama of desire. Don’t let the competitive desire to acquire tempt you off the road of freedom.

How does McLaren's wording help you hear them differently? Which one feels most relevant and challenging to you? How do you see the commands working together to shape a different sort of community and society?

Would love to hear your reflections--leave comments below!

PS--Many thanks to Karen and Nicole Kurkowski and Bill and Nancy Lively, who will be taking over blog posting and writing during my upcoming maternity leave! I look forward to hearing their reflections on the chapters as we continue this journey over the coming weeks.

No comments: