How should we keep holy the name of the Lord and the Lord's day?

Thoughts about the second and the third commandments
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1. Wrong approaches of honoring God. A lot of people think that it is quite easy to obey the second and the third commandments. "We do not take the name of the Lord in vain, and we go to the church on every Sunday. Okay, on church holidays, too. All right, even on those infrequently visited church holidays, (like Epiphany, Ascension of Jesus, etc.), too, which fall on week days." I must disagree with my brothers and sisters thinking these. Honoring God is not a compliance with rules or a type of behavior. People with divided hearts do not have strength. It is because they do not keep and save Jesus in themselves. They cannot keep Jesus in themselves because it is impossible to accept a half-Jesus. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

2. How should we keep holy the Lord's name? God is not the God of denial but the God of affirmation. God does not take anything away but He gives something. That is we always have to find the affirmative content behind the prohibitive words of the commandments because these carry the real message (Hebrews 10:1). The essence of the second commandment is that I bless the name of the Lord. The presence of God is the presence of the most precious gift in our lives. But if we do not listen to what the gift is that God is willing to give us, we will never receive it. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

3. How should we keep holy the Lord's day? Holidays are signs. They are such signs that have been given to us, people, by the Holy Trinity as a memory of Its love and indelible union. God’s signs though can be interpreted and can become complete only together with the Word of God. If a Christian is only looking for the signs of God he will become a 'raver-Christian'. For a man living in Jesus, every moment of each day becomes a sign. If we consider every moment a sign, the sign of God will be carved on us. The love of Jesus will shine out of us. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

 


 

Introduction. This season’s essays are written about the Ten Commandments. With regard to the first commandment ("I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.") I wrote about the Christian identity. Interpreting the second and the third commandments („You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Remember to keep holy the Lord's day.”) I examined the concept of the real honoring of God. Regarding the fourth commandment („Honor your father and your mother!”) I was looking for the answer to what makes a dialogue determining in somebody’s life? The key idea of the answer is the openness to honor other people (e.g. our parents). Thinking over the fifth commandment ("You shall not murder!") I show that there are many ways to commit a murder in our everyday lives, and whom we kill when we are unable to forgive. I also think it over what we must murder to become capable of accepting Jesus.

 

1. Wrong approaches of honoring God

 

"because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot,
I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth."
(Apocalipse 3:16)

 

A lot of people think that it is quite easy to obey the second and the third commandments. "We do not take the name of the Lord in vain, and we go to the church on every Sunday. Okay, on church holidays, too. All right, even on those infrequently visited church holidays, (like Epiphany, Ascension of Jesus, etc.), too, which fall on week days." I must disagree with my brothers and sisters thinking these. Honoring God is not a compliance with rules or a type of behavior. It is impossible to enter into a contract with God: "I will obey the Christian rules and practices, and You will forgive me". The 'Old Testament’s logic' does not work: if You, my Lord kill me, the guilty now, who will adore and praise You afterwards? The reason why God does not kill us right now is not that we have not deserved death (just have a look around what we have done to the Earth, He had entrusted to us…), but because His only-begotten Son has redeemed us on the Cross and He offers us a chance of conversion until the very last moment of our death. That is God cannot be honored half-way. "I do not blaspheme God but I blaspheme the mother of my spouse. It is allowed, isn’t it? – I keep holy the Lord's day but let the week days be mine!" People with divided hearts do not have strength. It is because they do not keep and save Jesus in themselves. They cannot keep Jesus in themselves because it is impossible to accept a half-Jesus. The love-Jesus may come in, but the judgment-Jesus please remain outside. This half-way acceptance is insufficient and impossible. Jesus can not be divided.

 


 

2. How should we keep holy the Lord's name?

 

 "God is a spirit; and they that adore him,
must adore him in spirit and in truth"
(John 4:24)

 

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain! God is not the God of denial but the God of affirmation. God does not take anything away but He gives something. That is we always have to find the affirmative content behind the prohibitive words of the commandments because these carry the real message (Hebrews 10:1). So the second commandment by far does not only mean that I do not blaspheme God. That I do not argue with Him. That I do not get angry with Him. That I do not curse Him. The essence of the second commandment is that I bless the name of the Lord. I link the name of God with all forms of joy and love in my life. Because each and every moment of joy and love in my life comes from God even if I am not aware of it. If a man of faith pronounces the name of God: he smiles. If a man of faith pronounces the name of God: he becomes silent. If a man of faith pronounces the name of God: he becomes purified and starts to listen deeply. The presence of God is the presence of the most precious gift in our lives. But if we do not listen to what the gift is that God is willing to give us, we will never receive it.

 


 

3. How should we keep holy the Lord's day?

 

 "For the eyes of the Lord behold all the earth,
and give strength to those who with a perfect
heart trust in him."
(2Paralipomenon 16:9)

 

 

A lot of people do not know what we celebrate on every Sunday. "The day of the fair. The seventh day on which God became rested." (It is true that the seventh day is Saturday and the week starts with Sunday but real Christians should not have a problem with such little things…) We celebrate Easter on each and every Sunday. We celebrate the resurrection of Christ and the Eternal Life at every week, in every communion. Feasts are signs. They are such signs that have been given to us, people, by the Holy Trinity as a memory of Its love and indelible union. We do not throw the wedding ring away. It is not possible to ignore the honor of the signs of the love of God.

 

 

God’s signs though can be interpreted and can become complete only together with the Word of God. If a man of faith accepts the signs but he does not want the Words of God, he will become exactly such a lukewarm semi-Christian like the Book of Revelations 3:16 is about. It is in vain to look for the taste of salt without having salt... Péter Garádi, a Hungarian Lutheran pastor wrote in the Hungarian "Híd Magazine" about such Christians quite aptly that they are raver Christians. "If the service is not held in the church but in the heatable church hall, we do not go because it is not the same. If the sermon is not preached by the inspired X, we do not go because Y is not the same." Such a list of excuses could be continued for long. Nowadays the Church is not expected by many people to spread the Word of God but to provide something. To provide an experience. "If I will not receive the experience I expected, I will not go." This kind of 'church-consumer' behavior is dangerous not because the church will become empty. This kind of thinking is dangerous because it makes the church empty (even if it is full of people…). Because there is a expected performance in the church instead of the presence of our Lord. God is not a travelling circus – with stunts. God in not a restaurant menu from which we may order our favorite for today. We need a large amount of humility and self-emptying before approaching God. God does not send us a sign when we expect it. That’s when He does not send anything. God sends a sign exactly when we expect it the least. THAT IS WHY we have to think carefully about ALL surprising moments of our lives whether God has sent us a message with them.

 

 

For a man living in Jesus, every moment of each day becomes a sign. A sign of the closeness of God. If we consider every moment a sign, the sign of God will be carved on us. Our faces will be radiating like that of Moses (Exodus 34:29). The love of Jesus will shine out of us. I wish all Readers to have this radiation of love all over!

 

 

 

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