Letter from the clergy - Friday 5 March 2021

First published on: 5th March 2021

Dear All,

Over the last year or so we have seen so many new rules and laws come about. Most of these have been to try and help keep people as safe as possible through the pandemic. I wonder what you have been like following these rules. Have you done so perfectly and gladly, or have you bent some of the rules? Or have you followed them, but grumpily? 

This week's Old Testament reading is one of the most famous set of instructions or rules the world has ever seen; the rules God gave to Moses to give to the Israelites after they had been brought out of Egypt; the Ten Commandments.

  1. I am the Lord your God: you shall have no other gods but me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself any idol.
  3. You shall not dishonour the name of the Lord your God.
  4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
  5. Honour your father and mother.
  6. You shall not commit murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not be a false witness.
  10. You shall not covet anything which belongs to your neighbour.

These rules have been the foundation for law makers all around the world for thousands of years. A list of rules like these could portray God as someone with a clipboard, just checking what we have done right and what we have done wrong. I think these rules are not like that at all, in fact I think the Ten Commandments are a wonderful insight into the character of God.

I say this because when Jesus is asked which law is the most important, He summarises them to two, “Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbour as yourself”.

The Law is not just a tick box exercise but rather a way of us checking that we are loving God with our whole heart, and that we are loving other people as God loves us. This is God showing His people how best to live their lives; by living lives filled with love for God and others. God wants us to behave like that because that is how He is with us. “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). “For God so loved the world, that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Let us spend time this week thinking how we may love God more and how we may love other people better.

God bless.

Gareth


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