Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Reading through the 10 commandments yesterday I was struck by the social nature of the commandments (the social nature of our faith seems to be a theme for me of late!). I'm so used to applying them individually that I was quite bowled over by the fact that they are addressed to a people. This is a people who have been set free and redeemed (as the prologue makes clear) to live freely under the Lord's commands. It just struck me how we are to practice the commandments together and not alone. They are about moulding a whole counter-cultural society that has the Lord at the centre - issuing forth in worship and right relationships. So, for example, the Sabbath isn't just about me not working, but about a whole culture defining itself by the Lord and not by work. The commandments are meant to be practiced collectively and reciprocally - not individually. It seems to me that the idea of community often only really comes into play for us negatively, in terms of accountability (have you been keeping the commandments?). But, surely, the issue is one of collective obedience, not just lots of individual obediences (is that possible without the collective one?). Perhaps we need to think about this more: to what extent are our Christian communities shaped by the Lord's commands?