Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Church

March 13, 2012

A Positive Minute: Lent: Week Three

Greensburg — For the third Sunday of Lent, the Old Testament reading is from Exodus 20:1-17 which includes the Ten Commandments.

At the outset, let me clearly state these are not the Ten suggestions!

These Ten Commandments are a covenant from God to humanity. There is no reward from God in the prohibition of the Commandments. However, there is a reward for those who honor ones father and mother Ñ the promise is a reward, namely a long and spiritually prosperous life. (Ephesians 6:1-2)

There were two tablets upon which the Commandments were written. The first stone had the initial three commandments and the second stone bore the remaining seven.

I have noticed something of interest about the Ten Commandments and the Cross on which Jesus died.

Looking at the first three Commandments, we see the connection from man to God, or vertical. The next seven Commandments are among we humans, or horizontal. When you place a vertical line against a horizontal line you get a cross. In a real sense the Ten Commandments point to the cross.

The cross is nothing to be ashamed of, especially in this world where Christianity is under fire from other religions and governments. I was once asked, "I saw you do the sign of the cross at the restaurant. I didnt know you were Catholic." Exhibiting the sign of the cross is not reserved for our Catholic brothers and sisters. Many in the Orthodox and Lutherans churches are proactive in demonstrating the "sign of the cross" at the beginning and end of their prayers.

The earliest Christians who were thrown in the arenas to fight the gladiators or face the lions would turn toward the emperor or leader in the arena and gave the sign of the cross to show that Christ lives in their lives and this was a testimony to remind the government of Jesus and his death. Therefore, I am not ashamed of the cross and what it stands for.

Gods plan for humanity is a wonderful one and there is no other book of religion that is so consistent with how it links from the beginning to the end. The Old Testament tells of the Messiah to come and in the New Testament we find the Messiah arriving.

His name is Jesus. It is also important to note the harmony between Law and Grace. Christ is the lawgiver in the Old and New Testament and that means there is no contradiction or opposition between the old and new laws. In His incarnation Jesus fulfilled the old Law, making it obsolete. (Hebrews 8:13)

During Lent, we think of doing without something that has had meaning to us.

Whatever it may be that you have been doing without, have you been replacing it with prayer? It is important that when we take something away we replace it with more of the Lord.

The Grace of our Lord is so wonderful.

We understand the importance of the Ten Commandments and I hope you now have a clearer picture of how the Commandments and the Cross link so well.

Never be ashamed of the cross. Christ loved humanity so much that he took our punishment and hung on the cross for our sins.

Michael Layne, Ph.D., Th.D is the writer of A Positive Minute, Bishop of the Diocese of East Indiana Lutheran Orthodox Church, author and Pastoral Counselor.  He can be reached at 812-662-5154 or Email: doclayne@yahoo.com.

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