Third Sunday in Lent- Week of March 7, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Almighty God, you know us inside and out. Guide our lives as we learn how to better love you, and love all in the world around us. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is LEARN. The Ten Commandments teach us how we can better love God and love others. What have you learned this week that helps you be a follower of Jesus?
Adult and Small Child
Read: Exodus 20:1-17
Reflect: Everyone has to follow rules. Adults who drive in cars have to obey the rules of traffic – like stopping at stop signs and red lights - so that they can keep themselves, their passengers, and other people safe. Kids follow rules too – at home and at school – so that they can safely play with their family and friends.When Moses listened to God and paid attention to God’s love for him, he learned God’s rules to help people live lives of love.
The first four rules that Moses learned from God are about God. These rules are ones that we follow so that we remember to make God the important center of our lives. The other six rules that Moses learned from God are about living with other people. These rules are ones that we follow so that we can be together as a community with the people we live around and we can treat them with respect and care.
Respond: We can learn more about God’s special rules for us when we spend time each day thinking about them.
With an adult, write down a list of God’s special rules from this Scripture. Write them in words that everyone can understand – you can look for this passage in a children’s Bible to find language that is accessible for all. Then, each day, talk about different ways that you saw people following God’s rules. Or, share ways that you tried to follow these rules in your own life.
You can also learn more about how Jesus understood God’s special rules – together with an adult, find a Bible and read from Matthew 22:35-40. You can learn together about how Jesus taught about God’s most important rules!
- Katy Denning
Adult and Elementary
Read: Exodus 20:1-17
Reflect: "Now, don't touch the stove, and don't open the door for anybody; I'll be right back!" Those were the instructions that my mother left me as she ran out to do a few errands; I was about 9 years old. I understood the seriousness of what she told me. I got hungry, but I didn't dare touch the stove. Instead, I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was so happy when my mom returned! Have you ever been given guidelines or instructions on how to do things? Instructions allow us to remain healthy and safe. When you look over the reading, you will see that God gave instructions that are known as the Ten Commandments.
Respond: Look over the reading again. Challenge yourself to see if you can learn each of the Ten Commandments. Talk to the adults in your life, and learn the Commandments together!
- Imani Driskell
Adult and Youth
Read: Exodus 20:1-17
Reflect: The Ten Commandments are not just a set of rules to be followed. Did you notice there is no punishment attached to breaking the commandments? Yes, when we break commandments there are consequences—relationships are hurt and the laws of the land might require a penalty, but nowhere does God declare that if a commandment is broken God’s love will be removed. (And thank goodness for that!)
The commandments are not a set of rules set up so God can play “gotcha” with us. They are actually a gift from God given to us as a way to pattern our lives so that we might prosper. They are there to teach us how to live. Have you ever noticed the pattern of the Ten Commandments? The first four speak directly to our relationship with God and the final six are about our relationship with others—with our community. But they are ALL about relationship. They are all ways that keep us in healthy relationship with God and one another.
When I was a teenager, I often thought some of my parents’ rules were “stupid” or ways to control me. I didn’t understand (and didn’t ask) why some of the rules were in place. Now, as a parent, I understand. The rules my parents gave me were their way of protecting me even when I didn’t think I needed to be or even wanted to be. The rules came from love.
Respond: What are some
of the rules your parents, guardians, or other trusted adults have for you? Can
you think about what the reasoning might be? Set some time aside to talk to
your parent, guardian, or another trusted adult. Ask about the rules and really
listen. Give thanks to God that someone loves you enough to guide you (even if
you don’t like it!)
- Katherine Doyle
Adult and Adults
Read: Exodus 20:1-17
Reflect: The Ten Commandments seem to embody timeless lessons and truths that appear far beyond the experience of the Exodus and far beyond the people to whom it was originally delivered. When I was a child, one of the traditions my parents insisted on was each of us offering a Bible quotation after the food was blessed before we could begin eating. As the youngest I always went last and my go-to was, “Jesus wept.” My parents wanted more. As I got older, one of my sisters suggested I learn the Ten Commandments because it would offer some variety and cover me for several days at a time. I’m not sure that that’s why I read them in total or attempted to understand them – perhaps I just wanted to get done with it all. But, as I’ve aged, I’ve come to appreciate that so many times in life I’ve found a commandment slipping into my thinking as I faced a decision or was confronted with not great choices. I’ve leaned on the commandments as a reminder of what I stand for and what I believe to be the ways that I must interact with others. Respecting the timelessness of the commandments holds out the hope of a better me.
Respond: Journal through these prompts this week: When have the Ten Commandments held the most promise for you? When have they been the most challenging for you? Are there individual commandments that are harder to stomach than others? Do you see times in the world today when the commandments answer questions whose answers seem to elude us? If you were writing commandments for the people, what would yours be?
- Mallard Benton