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Thinking about the First Commandment

Every so often I like to use this weekly message to run through the Ten Commandments.  There are several reasons for this.  First, we like the children to be familiar with them so I have been discussing them in Assembly.  Secondly, they and similar pronouncements from the Bible form the basis of our moral and ethical outlook.  Even those who don t have a heartfelt connection with religion or the Bible would be keen that people refrain from stealing and lying and killing; that they respect their parents, take regular well-earned rest breaks from their labours and so on.

And thirdly, perhaps my favourite reason, is that in common with most of the Bible, study of these commandments requires us to think and use our intelligence.

Takes the first commandment.  Many say that this is the most important one if you get this one right then all the rest follow naturally:

I am the lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  Exodus 20:2-3

I once asked 6th class which God we re dealing with here; which aspect of God are we being asked to put first?  After a bit of discussion we concluded that it was the God of freedom, the one who brings us out of our house of bondage.

We than had a conversation about what binds us jealously, anger, frustration, fear, embarrassment; and what sets us free forgiveness, understanding, compassion, courage and so on.  Our conclusion was that this commandment is asking us to put before all other options those things which set us free.  When we are free of hatred, and anxiety, and ignorance, we can move forward bravely, confidently and generously.

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