Moses at Mt. Sinai – Exodus 19:5-6 “Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
Names can be misleading. One of the things I enjoy at Christmas time is the variety of special eats and treats connected with the season. I recall being so excited as a kid to try a ‘Christmas mince pie’, expecting the filling to be savory, minced meat. Aagh! Imagine my surprise to bite into a strange mix of dried fruit and spices. I was suspicious of anything that said ‘mincemeat’ thereafter.
The Ten Commandments suffer a similar fate. What do our minds conjure up when we hear the word commandments? Strict, unyielding, detached rules to rein us in and limit freedom. Instinctively, we rebel and see God as a harsh disciplinarian.
In fact, a far better rendering of the title is God’s ‘Ten Words.’ How different, then, to see them as Ten Words of wisdom – how to live well and flourish as a society. As Ten Words of special revelation – disclosing the goodness of God’s heart as caring, fair and concerned for everyone’s wellbeing. As Ten Words of re-creation – God’s heavenly rule being realized on earth, bringing order to our chaos. All this so we can be a ‘kingdom of priests’ mediating God’s blessings, and a ‘holy nation’ showing the world a better way.
That is why Jesus, who finally brings God’s kingdom in, taught us to pray: ‘Your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven.’ At Christmas we celebrate the arrival of God bringing order to our chaos, and the world’s, through Jesus.
Does your view of who Jesus is need to expand this Christmas?