Exodus 20:1-17

Then God spoke all these words:

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;

                you shall have no other gods before me.

                You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

                You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

                You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

                Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work–you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

                Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

                You shall not murder.

                You shall not commit adultery.

                You shall not steal.

                You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

                You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.


From Rev. Dr. Gregory Widener


I have to freely admit that when I think of Lent, the Ten Commandments do not often come to mind—in fact they never come to mind! Rules are not popular in this anti-authoritarian culture today, and as Christians, we are proud of the fact that our faith is not simply a set of rules that we must obey. We claim that Christianity is fundamentally a relationship with God through Jesus of Nazareth, so for us, relationships matter far more than laws—even the laws of God.

But should not the Lenten season be a time of repentance, when we seek to surrender our lives to God in new and fresh ways?   As we seek to strengthen and improve our lives with Christ, should we not be concerned with what God desires of us, particularly during this special time of year? Are not rules just a way of defining the dynamics of relationships and without God’s rules, laws, and precepts life would be chaos?

Most of us have heard correctly that the first half of the Ten Commandments concerns our relationship with God, and the second half of the list proscribes our relationships with other human beings. These commandments are far more than just a list of rules, they are a proscription for holy living. If followed, these commandments will produce God’s holy Shalom in the world, and if that is not a good thing during the season of Lent, I do not know what is!


O God, help us to live solely for you,

with all our mind, heart, and strength. Amen.