How long is it since the 10 Commandments were read, or even mentioned, in our worship services? At least eight years ago was suggested and it could be longer taking us back to when the Communion Services were closely aligned with the Liturgy of the Prayer Book (PB). The richness of the PB has been lost to a great degree as we have rushed to express ourselves in more contemporary language, in a quest for relevance in a changing world, and partly in seeking to shorten the actual service/worship times and fill them with other matters.
Have we reached the stage where we would do well to look again at the PB for some aspects of our liturgy?
- I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of slavery; you shall have no other gods but me.
- You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything.
- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
- Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.
- Honour your father and your mother.
- You shall do no murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
- You shall not covert anything that is your neighbour’s. (AAPB, page 135)
Why did Thomas Cranmer and colleagues think it important to include the 10 Commandments in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) in the first place? Copious words have been written on this aspect, but suffice it to say they wished to insert them as a reminder of the Law given by God to Moses and the terms under which the people were to conduct themselves. The coming of Jesus as Lord and Saviour did not cancel out the Law but pointed to the perfect sacrifice He was to offer on our behalf. In Matthew 22:36-37 Jesus was asked by the Pharisees (the Jewish elite) about the Commandments and he answered: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (NASB)
If it was good enough for Jesus to refer to the Commandments then where does that leave us? Many have forgotten that our Justice System to this very day is based on the principles contained in the Commandments. Some in our society would like other religious laws adopted while others think a combination would work. We have the perfect law from our Great God and when Enough is Enough?
– GEOFF KYNGDON