Sermon: Very Good

There are no simple answers in this world. There is; simply, Love.

HeavenOrHellWe share with all Christians the understanding that all need the healing touch of God.  But, differences in how we understand our faith affects how we perceive the world, and how we interact with others.

I particularly remember one couple I knew years ago, who were among my most trusted and supportive friends at the time. Great people.

One day they were speaking of their second home in the mountains, where they planned to retire. It was completely “off the grid” – no connections to utilities of any sort, not even a mailing address. They never let anyone know exactly where it was.

They were also fairly conservative in their faith, and this sounded a lot like a refuge from the Apocalypse. But, they were such reasonable, balanced people! I knew that couldn’t be the case. So, I teased the wife, saying “Then I suppose the gas masks, concertina wire and machine gun nests are all just for show”?

Looking a little shocked, she said (dead serious), “How’d you know?”

“How did I know what?” I asked in surprise.

“How did you know we had gas masks?”

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The Second Commandment

Unlike the King James Version, the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, which is less archaic and takes advantage of recent scholarship and knowledge of the best ancient texts we have, presents the second commandment as follows:

“You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God…”

Like the King James, the NRSV still presents this commandment as a prohibition against swearing with the name of God. But the term “wrongful use” implies that there is more to this commandment than the common interpretation…

Oklahoma Ten Commandments Monument DestroyedDelivered at ARK Community Church, Dalton MA, October 26, 2014.

Exodus 20:2-17 – “The Ten Commandments” (The Message)
Romans 8:1-17 (The Message)

This morning, as I was eating breakfast and preparing leave for my drive here, I noticed an item in this morning’s news about a man who destroyed a controversial “Ten Commandments” memorial that was on public land in Oklahoma City.  He smashed the memorial with his car, left the car there, walked into the nearby Federal Courthouse and surrendered himself, saying “The Devil made me do it.”  The irony is wonderful, and dovetails so well with this morning’s message that I had to tell you about it and show you the photo of the destroyed monument.  Notice that the break near the top of the stone runs right through the second commandment itself.

And so, let us begin…

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