“You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbour’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.” Deut.5:21
Just a re-cap, let me think. There were 8 no 9 of us smitten by curiosity last night as we gathered to discuss the first chapter of Marja Meijer's book. Three of the original group were unable to attend. There were however 2 new members which is great. New vision- interpretations and thoughts to mix with our own. Adds to the flavour of the conversation.
As per usual, Marja uses the first chapter of her books to illustrate her intentions with the theme of her book. That she has as goal, to uncover the secrets of and her thoughts on, the Ten Commandments. It isn't her intention to break them down and set them aside- on the contrary. She wants to share her insights in how we can implement these 10 golden rules which existed before Jesus' life among us, His subsequent death and resurrection. Marja opens the discussion on how we can live our lives the way God intended us to live it- and how we can follow in Jesus' footsteps - by learning from His example.
As a child in a Catholic home, going to a Catholic school I learnt the Ten Commandments off by heart. They were taught, just like the times tables, by repetition and more repetition. Chanting, repeating and chanting. They were tested, at random - Nr1, Nr 5, Nr 9 etc. And woe betide if you got it wrong. Then you would have to write the wrong commandment 10 times over- so it would 'stick'. These Ten Commandments aren't just etched in stone- they are engraved in my heart and mind. Not that there was anything wrong with that. The thinking was- these are the rules- obey them and all will be well.
Looking back I realise that this teaching came out of a good heart and was well intended. We christians, the general public, didn't read or study the bible. We believed what we were told and did our best to come up to expectations - God's (and the parish priest/teachers). If we had the knowledge we have now- we would have looked further than the Old Testament.
The New Testament is where we can read about the life Jesus led. About how He nurtured, taught, shared, cared for and and instructed. How Jesus stood for all people and showed compassion for the sick, elderly and those less fortunate. How He didn't force himself on those not wanting to believe or hear His stories. He gave people the freedom to choose. He pleased His Father in all He did. He filled the brief- Go, show my people how they can find their way to Me - through you, through LIGHT, through LOVE.
The Ten Commandments are the LAW-
The rule to live by, is LOVE.
It doesn't override the law but supports it.
The next question that arrises is: Do I LOVE myself? For if I cannot LOVE myself- I cannot LOVE another.
My mission in life is to ensure that only that which I want to have happen to me, happens to those around me. Funny how some people tend to think that if someone becomes or already lives a Christian life that all is well with their world- well let me tell you, it takes energy, prayer, faith and perseverance. But most of all- it takes LOVE.
To be continued...