Lenten Series The 10 Commitments: #2 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
Welcome back to our Series on the 10 ‘words’ or phrases…better know as the 10 Commandments. I hope you are contemplating some of the ideas being presented.
When we choose to look at the Bible as a metaphor as we wander through life, we can then take another look at the 10 Commandments from a variety of viewpoints. This is a great way to remind ourselves that they are a wonderful way to aid our souls journey.
Why look at them now, at this point in our lives? Because we are maturing on a soul level…just as the child Jesus; “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40)
Metaphysically, we have left Egypt, or ‘sense consciousness’ to wake up from our limiting thoughts.
We started last week with “I am the Lord your God and you shall have no other Gods before me.” I asked you to think about that…have you placed the God of your understanding, first in your life?
This week, we look at #2: Exodus 20: 4-6
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
“Graven” means carved. But we are not just referring to carved images here, as you will hear.
Do you think of yourself as an idolator?
We humans have a tendency, at least sometime in our lives, to place “graven images” first. Can you think of any in your own life? Making money, our jobs, maybe a person; thinking they are the source of our happiness?
Emmet Fox suggests that if we each look into our hearts we would see that there are/were many idols that we did bow down to.
Eric Butterworth states in “MetaMorality”: “Every kind of sin committed by man boils down to a kind of idolatry…putting something before God.”
Whenever we give power to anything but Spirit, we are making that ‘thing’ a graven image.
Now think, there is a difference between admiring something, liking something, and the joy and happiness expressed is an expression of Spirit.
“It is the beauty and life and joy of God shining through it. We are not giving it power.”
I am very happy that the Philadelphia Eagles are in the Super Bowl, but I do not worship the team or give it any power over me.
And I love whoppie pies from the PA Bakery but am not devastated that I forgot the ones I bought on Wednesday and left them at Barbara’s. Now she gets to enjoy them while I had the pleasure of enjoying her special cookie that I always buy for her when I go to PA Bakery.
Do we think it’s the end of the world? No. Just another excuse to go home again soon!
Emmet Fox reminds us of giving power to what ails us…notice, I do not say ‘my accident’ or my back pain. This body has pain. There was an accident in 2014. Try hard to not own the events in your life…respond to them.
Watch your words. Watch your thoughts.
Leonard Felder’s Challenge in his book, “The 10 Challenges..” looks at this 2nd ‘words’ as “breaking free of unfulfilling paths and habits.”
We forget we are-capable of having a direct & personal relationship with the Divine deep inside our consciousness. We have no need for idols, external imitation.
“We get sidetracked, give up our power, modern-day addictions & pressures that cause us to forget that our purpose here is to be a vehicle for Divine energies.”—Ted Falcon, rabbi
There is a common human tendency to get distracted, we take detours, we try to escape—esp. when we are anxious, impatient.
Matthew 6:24 reminds us “No one can serve two masters….”
“What we acknowledge to be our master, to that we are a servant.”
Too often we look for Immediate gratification.
And then, the thing we’ve grabbed on to in place of Spirit turns out to be an illusion and we need to slow down again to find our way back.
Think about the Golden calf story as if you were there – Moses is up on the mountain, there’s some weird smoke and fire going on, he’s gone for weeks. Thousands of you have been wandering the desert for months…
Would you have become impatient, started doubting, looked for immediate gratification? Be honest….
Today, are you able to say no to impulsive detours when times are tough?
The daily ups & downs of wrestling with our doubts & breaking free of seductive idols & distractions requires perseverance & resilience.
And strength to walk away from the ice cream!
This 2nd Commandment…is a compassionate, useful warning that says as you seek to deepen your spirituality, you will have plenty of chances to give up, get distracted, or feel drawn to illusions & paths that leave you feeling empty.
It’s about waking up your soul each day to connect to true spiritual essence.
When we are impatient, we are susceptible to idols.
We must find a way to quiet our anxious mind and to live life fully awaken, alive, in touch, not distracted, numbed out or spiritually asleep.
Matt. 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it. Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.…”
What does that passage say to you? Have you noticed that the ‘way’ has become narrow and the masses have taken the wider, easier path?
G I Gurdjieff – “Moments of consciousness are very short & are separated by long intervals of completely unconscious, mechanical living…you can think, feel, act, speak and work without being conscious.”
SO how can we be more conscious? Well, by doing our self-work. By attending classes and Lessons and by prayer and meditation and contemplation.
That’s why we are here, this morning…because we have heard the yearning of our Soul and are finally listening.
Now, let’s see what Neal Donald Walsh has to say about what he calls a Commitment…
“No longer will you worship human love, or success, money, or power, nor any symbol thereof. You will set aside these things as a child sets aside toys. Not because they are unworthy, but because you have outgrown them.”
What do you think of that!?!
Is there a time in our lives when we out grow the need to place power in other than the God of our understanding? Isn’t that what brings us to places like Unity?
Buddhism, Hinduism and others speak of ‘monkey mind’ which interrupts our connection to God & our true purpose. But monkey mind holds power only to the extent that we believe it is the normal flow of our life process. By naming it that, we have given monkey mind our power.
We need to break free- Find a way to confront what’s been distracting you or holding you back….bare your soul to the God of your understanding, to God’s compassion The Jewish word for compassion also can mean ‘womb’, ‘womblike’-you bare your soul surrounded by warmth& caring
Bear Heart, a Native American writer. “If we really want to know ourselves, at some point we’re going to have to surrender to a Higher Wisdom who knows all about us-our weaknesses, our mistakes, and our potentials. Many NA tribes do that through our meditation known as the ‘Vision Quest’- the setting aside of time & place, alone out in nature, to communicate with a Higher Being and explore that which is within.”
When we are going thru hard times is precisely the time when we need to open up & let a higher sense of guidance & support in to give added strength & clarity.
Our 3rd scholar, Joan Chittister, a Benedictine Nun, calls this Commandment the Law of Reflection
Our God is not of human making, not of this world, not to be reduced to anything material.
This Law of the Heart prods us to examine again and again what it is that we have placed before God…what we have made our god instead.
This may be the easiest Commandment to break for us, but now that we are made aware, now that we can search our heart and remove those Golden Calves.
The One God, the One Spirit, the One Divine Presence is within, waiting for us. It is the shortest distance from our head to our heart, but the journey can be long. God awaits there for us.