And The Greatest Of These …

The highest court in the land is considering a case that some say will forever shape this nation’s tolerance of religion in their lives. Both sides have their points and counterpoints ready to fire at one another. For some the Ten Commandments are an invasion of religion where it is not desired, and for others they are symbols of security that, regardless of the demise in the values of this country, there are still places where symbols of faith linger.

My question in this whole argument is why and what is the motive? I am not as concerned with the motive of the plaintiff, but that of the faith community. Why is the Church so up in arms about this? Is this the most important issue out there? Does this supersede the hungry, the homeless or the hurting? For many, the idea of removing the Ten Commandments births fear in them about possible persecution. It serves as a reminder and a wake-up call that this is no longer a Christian nation. It is a nation with numerous gods and beliefs. As Christians we are viewed as one faith among many. Even though this is the perception, our faith should not cower behind an engraved statue of rules and regulations. Instead we should take the forefront in advocating love and mercy. Which is more significant in communicating the life-altering love of Christ to this nation—a stone monument or a monument that is made of flesh? A monument carved by human hands or one that the Spirit of the Living God has breathed into? Which of the two has conversations over meals and coffee with a friend at Starbucks? Has the stone monument ever received a phone call from a distraught friend for a listening ear? Which of the two can extend their hands in love? Does the Church want the commandments on display for their own benefit or for the benefit of others? I believe that unconsciously it is to take the focus off them and place it onto something without flaws. The commandments are engraved with precision; our lives are marked inaccuracies. It is much easier to point at an object and say this is what Christianity is all about. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew5:14), that is us humans not hand-crafted monuments. We have to incarnate the Word of God. It has to be able to be touched and for it to touch others.

This country has enough shrines and figures cluttering our lives. Why does this one bother them so much? I believe deep down that people are sick and tired of seeing Christians stand up to be heard over issues like this one, yet they never enter the conversation when discussing issues like helping single mothers or getting involved in the lives of those who may never cross the threshold of our buildings. This issue is an easy one to side with; it requires little commitment to be involved. Helping the unwed single mother in your congregation takes time; showing mercy and being an activist for the rights of another requires sacrifice. Sadly, for most Christians that is too high a price. I am so glad the Savior of the world took a different view. He could have said, “No, Dad, they’re not my sins, and they’re not my problems.” He could have waited for an issue that was not as demanding to rise up and say, “Count me in; I’ll sign that petition.” The prophet Isaiah records, “He [Jesus] carried our sorrows” (Isaiah53:3). I wish the world could say that about His Church. They carried my sorrows. They took the pain of my wounds. I am not sure how this case will play out, but I am certain of this: 10 people living the Word of God are better than 10 commandments posted anywhere.

[Charlie Dawes is a 25-year-old husband and youth/twentysomethings pastor who loves music, people, God-hunting and question-asking.]

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