MARCH 10 – NEVER LEAVE FAMILY BEHIND
DEVOTIONAL: When I was 14, my younger brother and I spent the summer down south with our cousins. We were city kids, and that summer in Mom’s rural hometown presented to us a different way of life. As is the nature of small towns, everyone seemed to know everyone. I had only to walk down the road to have a chorus of people greet me by name, one by one as I passed by their front porches. Even though I was a visitor, by knowing my family, they knew me. They also took on the responsibility of teaching me the mores of the community, like the practice of addressing adults as ma’am and sir; walking slowly, taking time to visit. Paying attention.
My brother and I joined the church youth group on a trip to an amusement park. For the most part, it was a wonderful day. However, my brother, who had developmental disabilities, got lost at the park. Distracted by my new friends, I had completely forgotten about paying attention to him. Eventually he was found, unharmed, but shaken and scared. I was relieved and thought the incident was over. That night, however, back at home — I got the dressing down of my life. Never, ever, ever leave family behind.
Today’s text outlines some of the rules given to God’s people for the ordering of family and community. God’s people — God’s family — are to love, honor and care for one another. To be mindful of the way we speak and to be accountable. To pay attention. In this way, God’s love and care extends beyond ourselves and we can show the world how God loves by the way we love one another.
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 20:1-17 (NRSV)
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. For six days you shall labour 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.
Honour 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 neighbour.
You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.