Written by: Rachael Keefe

10 Commandments 2.0

Typically, progressive Christians don’t talk much about the Ten Commandments. I’m not sure why, exactly. Maybe we think they don’t have so much to say to us. I think they …

10 Commandments 2.0

Typically, progressive Christians don’t talk much about the Ten Commandments. I’m not sure why, exactly. Maybe we think they don’t have so much to say to us. I think they do so I’ve written them as they might be if they were given today. The idea came out of a text study with colleagues earlier this week.


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.

                                                           Then God spoke these words:

                                                            I am the Holy One your God, I have given my life for                                                                     you, to save you from yourself. Do not choose gods of                                                                  your own  making as they will not give you life.

 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.

                                                         Do not put your faith in things made by human hands.                                                                They will leave you alone and disappointed. The                                                                            devastation can be felt for generations. If you love me, the                                                          God who is love, your children will be blessed with love for                                                          generations to come. 

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.

                                                       Do not use my name frivolously. Every time you do, you                                                             diminish the awe and wonder I bring to each moment. You                                                         also devalue yourself each time you devalue the One who                                                             made you.

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.

                                                       Take a Sabbath. You need a day to rest your body, your                                                              mind, and your spirit. The world will continue in all its                                                                busyness, that is not an excuse for making time to rest and                                                          remember that I am your God, that you are my beloved                                                              child, and worship heals your spirit.

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

                                                       Honor your parents. Forgive them for their mistakes and                                                            their wrongs and you will find freedom and peace.

You shall not murder.

                                                        Do not murder anyone or commit acts of violence toward                                                           another. Peace never results from violent words or actions.

 You shall not commit adultery.

                                                       Do not enter into a sexual or romantic relationship with                                                              anyone who is not free to be in relationship with you. The                                                            pain it will cause you and others will be more than you                                                                realize.

 You shall not steal.

                                                     Do not take anything that belongs to another. You will cause                                                      unnecessary hurt and have to deal with the guilt and shame                                                      that could result.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

                                                     Do not lie – to yourself or anyone else. Lies have a way of                                                            consuming you and destroying relationships.

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.

                                                     Do not let jealousy or envy distract you from what is                                                                    important. You do not need possessions to prove your                                                                  worth.

RCL – Year B – Third Sunday in Lent – March 8, 2015
Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
John 2:13-22

Photo from Pixabay.com. Used with permission.

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About Rachael Keefe

Rachael is an author, a pastor, a teacher, and a poet. Her latest book (The Lifesaving Church - Chalice Press) is on faith and suicide prevention. She is currently the pastor of Living Table UCC in Minneapolis, and has launched a spiritual direction practice.

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