The Readings begin with Isaiah’s prophecy (55.1-9) calling people to repent, turn from their evil ways and seek the Lord. God is reaching out to them with the offer of forgiveness and free spiritual food that will satisfy their deepest needs. We all hunger for forgiveness and a right relationship with God and our neighbour that gives meaning and purpose to our lives. The 10 Commandments define our special covenant relationship with God:
- Covenant is like a marriage relationship
- Breaking any one condition ends the relationship
- God promises us love, spiritual protection, and eternal spiritual life - and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (after Jesus)
- We promise love and loyalty to God and our neighbour
- We begin our self-examination by spending at least a half hour asking 10 questions that requires deep thought to find an example, however minor of our in-effect worshiping other gods - i.e. hockey, money, power, sex, popularity (self)
1. In what ways have I worshiped other gods?
We can think of this as The Commandment, and the other nine as clarifications or tests of our love of God. This is god’s exclusive claim to our love and loyalty. In the time of Moses one god was a revolutionary new idea
2. In what ways have I worshiped an image of God?
God is invisible and beyond our imagination. We are tempted to make God in our own image - super-me. Jesus is what God would look like if God was a man - but God is more than Jesus.
3. In what ways have I misused the name of God?
It is forbidden to misuse the name of God or Jesus to manipulate other people. Jesus specifically forbad oaths in God’s name as all promises are made in the presence of God.
4. How have I failed recognize my dependance on God?
The Hebrews recognized their dependance on God in Creation and the Exodus. Christians also recognize their dependence on Jesus for their forgiveness and restoration to right-relationship.
5. In what ways have I dishonoured my parents?
Parents are responsible for teaching their children the Covenant. If children fail to listen and honour their teaching the covenant relationship is broken.
6. How have I damaged / destroyed the life of another person?
Murder abrogates God’s promise of a long life to those who are faithful to the Covenant. Have I failed to love and hurt others?
7. How unfaithful have I been in my marriage relationship?
Adultery (of the heart) is a failure to love and a failure of loyalty. If we cannot love /be loyal to our spouse we will not love / be loyal to God. It is a form of worshiping other gods.
8. When have I manipulated someone for personal gain?
Theft is a transgression of the freedom of another and breakdown of covenant relationship.
9. How have I contributed to the breakdown of truth?
False witness and deception destroys covenant trust.
10. What wrong desires and thoughts have I had?
Wrong thoughts lead to wrong actions (above) and destroy trust and our love relationships within the Covenant family of God.