Here’s a new take on a traditional reading of the Ten Commandments. This litany was written by Bert Witvoet, and published in the Reformed Worship journal.
Contemporary Responses to the Ten Commandments
(Exodus 20:1-20 and Psalm 19:9-10)
Our society talks about personal autonomy.
Newspapers and films are filled with the notion
that we don’t need God to set us free—we are our own masters.
And God spoke all these words:
I am the Lord your God,
who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
Always ask yourself, “What’s in it for me?”
Remember, you’re number one.
You shall have no other gods before me.
Try to make as much money as you can
and spend all of it on improving your standard of living.
You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything.
You shall not bow down to them or worship them,
for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.
Don’t worry too much about swearing, because it’s just a habit.
Swearing makes you look tough.
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God,
for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
Sunday is just another day in which you can do whatever you want to.
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work.
Don’t pay any attention to your parents.
They’re old-fashioned and they spoil your fun.
Honor your father and your mother,
so that you may live long
in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
You are entitled to hate people who are nasty
or who in any way make life unpleasant for you.
You shall not murder.
When your marriage gets dull, it’s OK to have an affair or two.
You’re only human.
You shall not commit adultery.
If you have to take what doesn’t belong to you,
make sure you don’t get caught,
because then you have to face the music.
You shall not steal.
Don’t miss out on any gossip about people.
When you put other people down you feel better about yourself.
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Try to keep up with the Joneses.
Why should other people have more than you do?
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s spouse,
or their hired help, their car or their farm equipment,
or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, then honey from the comb.
By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
— written by Bert Witvoet, and posted on the Reformed Worship journal website.
For more worship resources related to this text, or other texts for October 2, 2011 (the sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost), click on Proper 22A in the list of “Labels” at the lower right side of the page.
For more worship resources on the Ten Commandments, click on Ten Commandments in the list of “Labels” at the lower right side of the page.