Join us on Sunday as we continue our Lent Series: Rehab—Program.
In recovery support groups, the phrase “working the steps” or “working the program” is used to describe how a participant goes through the process under the direct supervision of a sponsor. Likewise, in cardiac or other physical rehabilitation programs, there is a prescribed set of exercises and activities that the person goes through, a program the individual “works,” also under the supervision of a trained specialist. So a fundamental component of rehab is that you need a program.
A second critical component is you need others to support and encourage you as you work through it.
I want to suggest that the Ten Commandments is our ten-step program as followers of Jesus Christ. As such, we not only need to learn the steps, but we need to work them under the guidance and support of others. We work the steps of our program within our community of faith.
What is our program? Jesus summarizes the whole of it in two sentences: “One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:28-31, NRSV). But here in the twentieth chapter of Exodus, we get the full program:
1. Worship only the Lord God.
2. Don’t worship idols.
3. Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
5. Honor your parents.
6. Do not commit murder.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not lie.
10. Do not covet what other people have.
This is our ten-step program as followers of Jesus Christ. And even though Jesus provides a convenient, two-sentence summary, it is important for us to work the program throughout our lives. This is why our Ten Commandments are one of the first things we teach to our children. Following these commandments is about character. They are about what we stand for as people of God and as community members. These are foundational principles for living in community with one another.
Can we do this? What gets in our way?