Third Sunday in Lent — Exodus 20:1-17
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3you shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:2-3, NRSV)
During this season of reflection on our inability to perfectly follow God’s law – and our resulting need for God’s mercy – it is striking that the first of the so-called Ten Commandments is primarily a statement about who God is in relationship to the people God chose. Yes, there is a law here: “you shall have no other gods before me”. Yet that law means little without the statement that introduces it. Before the call to serve God alone is the fact of God’s loyal love for the chosen people. Before the call to shun idols is the fact of God’s moving in power to rescue and redeem Israel. Before the call to honor God’s name and the day of rest, to respect father and mother, and to avoid theft, murder, adultery, false witness, and covetousness, there is the fact of God’s presence to guide and direct our steps. As Lent continues and we seek to live in obedience to our Lord, may we always remember the fact of God’s grace given to us in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, grace that enables us to die to sin and rise to live in Christ each day!
Holy God, through your Son you have called us to live faithfully and act courageously. Keep us steadfast in your covenant of grace, and teach us the wisdom that comes only through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
(From Evangelical Lutheran Worship)
– Pastor Andrew Chavanak, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (20th & Towle)