due for revision

Every once in a while, I get an urge to re-write the ten commandments. Last night was such a night — after a morning of Prayer Book, and an evensong full of tricky bits of Paul, which ended with ‘God is not yes, no, but yes, yes.’

So here, hastily done, is the latest gloss…

The Divine Word

Imagine a God who says yes.
Whose word is yes, yes. Not no.
Yes, you are my beloved.
Yes, you are my child.

And imagine we taught our children
generation after generation
to listen for God’s yes —
for God’s glorious liberating word

and we greeted them
not with Thou Shalt Not,
but with God’s deeper call,
God’s eager yes.

On our walls we might still paint the words our ancestors taught us:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,

with all your mind and with all your strength.
Love, others too — not just the ones you like,
or the ones who are like you —
but love them all, for I, the Lord your God, am a loving God:
all creation is mine.

Imagine we taught our children the great commandments:
Rest is Holy. Rest is sacred. Remember that you need rest.
And help others to stop their busyness too —
children and parents, strangers and friends
all must be given time
to be free
to set aside the tasks of the day
to delight in love and beauty and wonder.

When there is time, we can learn to value each other:
so, honour your parents, listen and learn from them;
honour your children too: for they know the ways of God.

Imagine that we taught our children
God’s way is not of death.
Give life to others, and help them live.
God’s love for us is precious and kind.
Be kind to others, and be faithful.

Our Great God gives us all we need
so give freely, share what you have.  There is enough.
T
here is no need to fear or to lie.  You are loved —
so you are free — to speak truth, to speak kindness,
to sing God’s word and dance God’s joy.

Delight in other people’s gifts, rejoice in their riches, 
find joy in one another’s peculiar ways,
for I, your God, am a curious God —
I love to laugh and catch you off guard.
Laugh with me.

And what if we invited God to write these words on our hearts?
If we taught our children to do the same?
Then would we be miserable?
Then would we offend?

Or might we believe
that we are worthy
that we are blessed
that we are beloved?

Imagine that this is our God
who longs to give us love.

For God it is
who says Yes
who delights in our being
and longs for our joy.

Published by

wonderfulexchange

Kimberly Bohan is a priest in the Diocese of Lincoln, less surprised by angels than by the thought of being so far south.

16 thoughts on “due for revision”

  1. Do you know, I still remember a sermon of yours (might have been Holy Week) at St Ninian’s where you were talking about God being a God of welcome rather than of condemnation – that you wanted to be part of a people who were all about God’s welcome and acceptance rather than condemnation and ‘thou shalt nots’ (I think it might have been in the context of some media clobber texting that was going on, but can’t exactly remember). This reminded me of that again.

  2. “Imagine we taught our children the great commandments:
    Rest is Holy. Rest is sacred. Remember that you need rest.”

    And I’m laughing.

    Because it’s gone midnight, and I’m barely 40% through a 200-page on-screen copy-editing project given to me this afternoon that has to be done and sent first thing tomorrow (this) morning.

    And I stopped to rest my eyes…
    … and after a few minutes typed “wonderfulexchange”

    Thank you Kimberly.

    Grace, eh?

  3. I don’t think there’s a god.
    I think it’s a waste of time, energy and money.
    I’d rather have root canal done than go to church. Music, people, words, clothing-all boring and irritating.
    Very glad religion is shrinking away where I live.

  4. Yes, church can be all those things. But it can also be creative, astonishing, full of wonderful music and exciting people. It depends on the time the place and who is there.

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