Do we follow only the commandments we like?
I learn more from my Sunday School students than I can ever teach them. Today, they went above and beyond in their reflections on our topic.
Today’s’ lesson: The 10 Commandments.
I had prepared a power-point presentation to illustrate the 10 commandments and how we can apply them to everyday life.
We started our discussion with a fundamental question: why do we need commandments?
I asked them to imagine how class/school would be if there were no rules. Their answers ranged from “no learning possible” to “setting the school on fire!”.
Their answers allowed me to introduce the answer to the question:
The commandments protect us, shield us from harm and preserve our purity and goodness.
Highlights of our lesson
- They quickly grasped the concept that an “idol” could be anything that we “worship” other than God. The iPad example struck a cord.
- ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery’: they wondered whether a widower remarrying was a sin. I assured them that it was permitted, I quickly moved on to the next commandment before they confronted me with any other questions on this subject!
- Stealing: with Halloween still in recent memory, we discussed how taking our siblings’ candy without their permission, or knowledge, is actually a form of stealing – they needed a lot of persuasions to believe this one! Seems Halloween candy confiscation is rampant!
- Thou shalt not Kill: they very wisely asked if serving in the army constitutes killing. I honestly struggled with this question. How could I explain that defending one’s country is not construed as “killing”? I relied on the explanation from SUS Copts that while being in the army is not considered killing, however, as Christians, we must never launch wars nor condone them. I found this helpful excerpt on SUS Copts:
Never has God used or condoned any kind of force or violence to convert people to believe in Him or to assault any nation for lack of faith in Him—not in the Old Testament and certainly not in the New Testament. When we read about wars or any aggression in the Old Testament, these accounts were due to the other nation’s acts of flagrant corruption or oppression of God’s people in need of His protection.
There are many saints who held military ranks and were in combat against other countries and oppressors—St. George, St. Mina, St. Mercurius, St. Theodore, St. Maurice, St. Victor, St. Ekladios, and many others, who may be less known. If an enlisted soldier dies in a war, God will not account him guilty. The soldier’s main goal is to defend so that the offences of enemies do not expand and cause more destruction of innocent lives and loss of human rights. Often, these saints that are aforementioned were strengthened by angels and stood against much evils.
As I was preparing this lesson, I kept wondering which commandment was I truly follow myself?
- Do I truly honour the Sabbath?
- Is Sunday such a Holy day for me that I set it aside and consecrate it to God?
- Or do I only consider the liturgy/Service as the portion belonging to God and the rest of the day is dedicated to the ‘cares’ of the world ( you know the drill: preparing for the week etc.)?
I once read about the Von Trapp family’s ( of the Sound of Music fame) Sunday tradition of only engaging in Christ centred activities on Sunday ( reading spiritual books, watching biblical movies etc ). They kept the tone of the day spiritual even after exiting Church. Maybe I can start incorporating some of these elements on Sundays!
Other Sunday School Lesson plans: The Most Expensive Hotels
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