Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Exodus 20:1-17

Lent 3 – Year B

Exodus 20:1-17

By what standards will you be known, will the community you are a part of be known? What are the criteria by which you would be willing to risk breaking a rule for which you are known?

Most of us are members of several communities that are not on the same page about the details of membership. This can be confusing. It can make chameleons out of us. It can also allow us to leverage one against another to help broaden the base from which we engage others.

An informative exercise is to list the various communities you belong to from blood/adoptive family to formative high school/college years to employment to nation to religion to environmental niche to . . . . Then indicate what the standards of each group are and what enforcement mechanisms are employed.

This leads to the extension to verse 20 – our desire to have some force between ourselves and the various standards as a way of developing plausible deniability should we be caught not living to the letter of one of the rules and regulations.

What have you developed as a universal ethic that grows out of your various communities? Is this a lowest common denominator ethic that can see you through any of their variations? Is this something beyond them that brings a question or challenge to their way of making a business out of relationships? Another way to ask this question is whether you are part of the priestly function or the prophetic?

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