Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
When I started teaching in the classrooms of Zion Lutheran School two weeks ago, one of the lessons I started with the kindergarten and first graders was the Ten Commandments. I don’t know about you, but for me, that phrase makes me think of Charlton Heston bringing down the tablets from Mount Sinai (kids, ask your mom or dad about that movie- it’s even older than me!). As we work through all ten together, learning what they are and what they mean, I wanted to expose both parents and the students in other grades to some thoughts of what the Ten Commandments are all about. This month, I will speak briefly on the structure of the Commandments, while next month we will focus on its use.
The Ten Commandments can be nicely divided into two parts, or ‘tables.’ The first concerns our relationship with God (the first through third commandments), while the second concerns our relationship with other people (fourth through tenth commandments). An easy way to think about this is by drawing a cross. The vertical line is the connection between us and God. That relationship is shaped by the first three commands. The horizontal line is the connection between us and our neighbor. The important idea to keep in mind is that our ‘horizontal’ relationships in this world are defined by, and flow out of, our relationship with God. Because God has shown us such love by sending us His Son for our salvation, we then go out and show that same love for one another. It is only on the basis of the first three commandments that we can go out and live the other seven. Even more specifically, all Ten Commandments flow directly out of the first. Because God is the only true God, we will worship Him and keep His name holy. Moreover, we will order our relationships with others in a way that reflects His identity as true God. The Ten Commandments provide a structure of our lives in Christ, but more on that next month! God’s blessings!