Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Ten Dos & Don'ts

In my Lenten group, we engage in something called Lectio Divina, which means "divine reading". Its a four part process that is quickly becoming one of my favorite practices.

1) Lectio- listening to God's word.
2) Meditatio- reflecting on what was just heard. What stands out?
3) Oratio- praying in response to what God has revealed.
4) Contemplatio- resting in God's presence.

Its usually done 3 times with the same passage.
This evening, we looked at the Ten Commandments.
To some, these are just a list of "dos & don'ts". To me, they seem like common sense. But in reading the commandments via the Lectio Divina model, some new things came to light. After the first reading, the numerous "shall nots" stood out most prominently. I wondered if "shall not" was the same as "don't". Interestingly, no. In some other translations, "shall not" is rendered as you "will not"... but never in the major translations have I seen something like "don't take the name of the Lord in vain" or "don't kill or commit adultery". God says "You shall not... you will not". He doesn't come out & say "you can't do this or that", even though He's giving clear cut commandments. Why? Because we still have free will to choose obedience or not. In the second reading, I noticed that the things He says not to do are a sin both against Him & the community. Sin affects others just as much & perhaps even more than it affects us. Upon the third & final reading, I noticed that God was not merely addressing an assembly of people, but each individual within it, including me.

The Ten Commandments aren't some archaic rulebook of dos & don'ts. They are God's own heart for us, as a Father, that we might obey Him & be saved from the myriad of consequences that come from sin.

No comments:

Post a Comment