The Ten Commandments
October 17 - November 21, 2021
November 21, 2021
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are gradually rediscovering the right way to answer the inevitable question: "How are you doing?" The right answer, of course, is: "busy." Alongside all the chaos, pain, and grief it unleashed, COVID-19 did also cause many of us to slow down our lives. Having nowhere to go and nothing to do forced many of us to rediscover the simplicity and surprising beauty of an unhurried life, one that could open a space for rest, nurture relationships, and invite us back into creation. During COVID-19, these were significant restrictions to life. But what if they could also be a significant prescription for a life with God that is WAY better than before?
November 14, 2021
The third commandment is likely a familiar one: "Do not take the Lord's name in vain." Those who grew up in the church were told that it forbids anyone from speaking God's name carelessly or offensively, especially as a swear word. It has inspired the Jewish community to never speak the name of God at all, and led Christians to be offended whenever they hear somebody yell, "Oh my God!!", "Jesus Christ!", or "Good Lord!". But what if that has virtually nothing to do with what the third commandment commands? What if many of us who have never used God's name to curse have been flagrantly and unrepentantly violating this command on a daily basis? What does it actually mean to "not take the Lord's name in vain"?
November 7, 2021
The idea of worshiping idols (which the second commandment forbids) is a strange one to Western society, and to the way we practice our religions. Aside perhaps from Catholic statues and shrines to the saints (which are not idols and are not worshiped), these are simply not features of Western life. It seems like the easiest commandment to obey because literally none of us have ever erected an idol of, or assembled a shrine to, any god anywhere ever. Great job, everybody! One down, nine to go! But what if idol worship actually is a rampant problem in the church? What if idolatry is actually one of the hallmarks of churches like ours? In what ways are each of us guilty of "worshipping idols"?
October 31, 2021
What are you most "devoted" to? Most of us are devoted to relationships: with our families and friends, even with our favourite teams and bands. Some of us are devoted to our pursuits: to jobs, education, sports, achievements. Many of us are devoted to goals: to graduation or retirement, to starting a family or emptying the nest, to paying off the house or buying a cottage. These things are the things on which we are laser-focused, pouring out time and money, attention and energy. They motivate all of our decisions, large and small. So, what would it look like to be fully "devoted" to God? And why does God expect to be the focus of our full devotion?
The Life of Love
October 24, 2021
So much of our religious energy is spent in trying to clarify what we think about God, but have you ever wondered what God thinks of you? We probably have our suspicions. Maybe we imagine that God is unconditionally accepting, like a kindly grandpa, or that God doesn't think about us much at all. Perhaps we suspect that God is mostly angry with us, or just disappointed with our failures. Or conversely, perhaps we imagine that God is impressed with our religiousness and righteousness, with our commitment to living by the rules. What if we could know exactly what God thinks about us, and what that would mean for who we become?
The Law of Love
October 17, 2021
"What does God want from us?" That is the question that throughout history has formed the heart of every genuine human quest to connect with the divine. Entire religious systems are formed to answer that question, complete with rules and rituals, traditions and temples. If we answer that question the right way, go to the right places at the right times, and devote ourselves to the right things, we will be living rightly. The Ten Commandments are the Bible's answer to that question, the ten rules to live by. Live by them and experience the life God wants from us and for us. So, what does God want from us? What does it look like to "live by" the Ten Commandments? And what if it isn't what we've always thought?