The hub-bub over the Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol is perplexing. Why this has become the focus of so many of our politicians is beyond me, especially after the State Supreme Court has said, “No religious symbols on State grounds!” My question is simple: “Why should we allow the State to manipulate religious symbols at all?”
The Ten Commandments are the topic of our Old and New Testament lessons today, and in the context of Jesus’ words it becomes easy to see why Christians would adopt numerous other statues over a 10 Commandment monument every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
After shattering the Ten Commandments, Moses cuts two tablets of rock and goes back to Mt. Sinai. God writes on the stone and renews the covenant with the people – basically that they shall be a holy nation, observe the Lord’s commands, and they shall be blessed.
In Matthew, Jesus addresses the Ten Commandments. Instead of dismissing the Old Testament laws, which many erroneously think he did, he strengthens and tightens them. For him, “You shall not murder” does not provide judgment on those who murder, but equally on those who get angry with a brother or sister. Insults are equally as bad as murder itself. This would be quite a shock to some of our Oklahoma legislators.
Many Christians do not know what to do with the harsh words of Jesus with regards to law, so they dismiss it all together. Jesus came and recast the law into the Law of Love, but so often I find people who simply cast off anything “Old Testament”.
What we see here challenges that. It strengthens and broadens the Old Testament requirements. Perhaps as Christians we should be arguing for all 600 Laws to be cast in stone. Or how about the Law of Love? The Summary of the Law?
With regard to the Law of Love, we are not called to simply honor father and mother anymore, but to honor all our family. And who is that? “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” It became apparent in the way Christ lived, that all he encountered were family. And we are not called simply to “not murder” but to a life of non-violence. So we must love everyone, especially our enemies. A tall order, especially in a country so filled of late with vile words of discord, war, prejudice, and hatred.
I have often wondered, if God came to earth to rewrite and rework the Ten Commandments for our generations today (and the argument could be made that God would, because in so many ways we have dismissed them, stopped listening to God, and failed to follow them at all, so perhaps God would want to give em a fresh new angle and something to go viral on the internet), what would they say? I suspect Commandment #1 would stay the same. But #2 would say, “For further understanding of #1, SEE JESUS.” That would tweet.