I don’t know what I’d do if I were a pastor. If I had to wait until inspiration struck, I’d have a sermon ready about as often as I post to this blog. Several things converged recently to lay this in my lap.
In a recent video, some guy was talking about attending Sunday school at a synagogue with the rabbi in attendance. I immediately wondered when Liberal Judaism became so liberal.
If you were as educated as I was when I was a kid, you’d know that the Sabbath is Sunday and that the Jews were just another Christian sect. Sigh. Why couldn’t I have just remained in blissful ignorance so I could display it on a regular basis in my newspaper’s letters to the editor.
As many good Christians already know, Jesus made Sunday the Sabbath to commemorate His rising on the third day (but that’s another story for another time), and Jesus’ real name was Emperor Constantine the Great. One of the many miracles of Jesus is that He did this in the year 321 A.D.
I hate to quibble with Jesus and deny Him what was possibly His greatest miracle, but if He had read His Holy Bible, He might have known that the Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday, the Jewish Saturday. English is a somewhat heathen language, and Saturday is named after our Lord and Savior, Saturn. At least in Spanish, it’s sábado, even though Spain is a bit confused and celebrates a Sunday Sabbath.
I should point out, however, that not all Christians suffer this confusion. The Seventh Day Adventists and Assemblies of Yahweh practice Saturday Sabbaths. The Worldwide Church of God used to do it under the reigns (reins?) of Herbert and Garner Ted Armstrong, but they have found their way and joined the ranks of True Christians. Hallelujah. Can I hear an Amen?
I’m sure most of my readers already know this, but for the unwashed, Jesus talked directly to Emperor Constantine, so we now know what Jesus had in mind for the world, celebrated in part by the Nicene Creed. Jesus gave his first sign unto Constantine with a flaming cross in the sky, supposedly on October 28, 312. It’s usually depicted as a triple sun, a rare form of sun dog caused by low-forming ice crystals and high winds. Like comets, they’re normally considered an ill omen, but by decreeing that Jesus is Lord and that this is His sign, supposedly this was a victory waiting to be fought. If you’ve never seen a triple sun, it really is pretty awesome.
Some cynics have opined that Constantine knew about Christ and His glorious kingdom because his mother was a Christian rather than by any direct communication with Jesus. Constantine commemorated this great victory through Christ with a triumphal arch in 315 dedicated to the goddess Victoria and with sacrifices to Apollo, Diana, and Hercules. Returning to 321, Jesus directed Constantine to instruct Christians to observe the Sabbath on the Venerable Day of the Sun, as decreed earlier by Aurelius. That’s it in a nutshell.
Already, I’m off track. This was supposed to be about mixed metaphors. I’m seldom bored, because have a wonderful radio station just a few miles from where I live that is powered by Christ’s love. That’s AM 600 for those of you who are old enough to know what vinyl records and AM radio are. (I’ll save you some time – AM stands for Amplitude Modulation.)
Here in America, Christ and His children are being heavily persecuted by atheists and secularists. And in America, we understand persecution, unlike those wimpy Christians who only have to put up with ISIS.
Fortunately, because of Christ, we get unfiltered news, unlike on liberal TV. One item that caught my attention was about a thug in Iran who blinded and disfigured a man by throwing acid in his face. Being good Christians, we can support things like the old Georgia law requiring the death penalty for the third conviction for selling the devil weed, marijuana. Under Iranian law, one of the perpetrator’s eyes was gouged out, not even blinding him. The radio reporter was aghast at anything so barbaric. Maybe they should have gouged out both eyes? What happened to Exodus 21:24? Okay, come back at me with Matthew 5:38. But what are we to believe? God’s law or God’s law? No, you really don’t need to explain it to me. I just thought it was a little strange that a Good Christian doesn’t understand other religions – like Judaism. Oh. I stand corrected. It was carried out under Islam.
What got me started on this train of thought were a couple recent blog articles. The first is by a person I consider a good friend: Garden2day. The subject was immigration, and she had a picture of the Statue of Liberty with the classic poem by Emma Lazarus. I wanted to comment that the Christian radio station that I listen to would be trying to round up all those immigrants whose families got here after the station owner’s family and send them back to whence they came. I was going to correct her picture with the “Memphis Statue of Liberty”, but my ignorance of HTML stopped me cold, since I don’t know how to send pictures in a comment.
Actually, this is the Statue of Liberation (Through Christ), and there’s nothing about “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”, which, as you can see, is something Christ would never stand for. His real message (if you can read it) is “America, return to Christ”! There’s no confusing whether this is Christ’s wish, because the statue is carrying a cross and the Ten Commandments.
And suddenly we’re stuck with another problem. Whose Ten Commandments are we talking about? A Catholic priest I knew once commented on a protestant sermon on “The Difficult Seventh Commandment”. After all, he thought to himself, what’s so difficult about “Thou shalt not steal” unless you’re a kleptomaniac?
I’ll save you some time. That’s not the protestant seventh commandment. Since most Christians haven’t bothered reading their Bible, they wouldn’t realize that it doesn’t number the commandments. Numbering them is a matter left for you and Jesus (unless you’re Jewish). For protestants (except for Lutherans, who agree with the Catholics), the seventh commandment is “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. I understood this perfectly when I was a kid. Don’t do anything an adult would do. This is an amazingly easy commandment to break, since all you have to do is lust after someone in your heart who is not your spouse. (I’m not sure you’re even allowed to lust after your wife.) Something I had to chuckle at was when John Paul II spoke in the US about concupiscence, it sent the reporters running to look up the word.
Just outside Groom, TX on I-40, there is a giant cross placed there by the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ Ministries. It is one of the many having the distinction of being the largest cross in the world, and there’s no question that it is the largest near Groom, TX.
After driving past it so many times, my wife and I decided to stop and visit. The second thing you notice after the cross itself are the sculptures of the twelve stations of the cross. (That’s a Catholic thing for those of you who are True Christians.) Off to one side is a sculpture of two tablets containing THE ten commandments, and I pointed them out to my wife. When she turned to walk away, I asked if she had noticed anything wrong. After pointing out several specific commandments, I finally explained that they weren’t the Baptist Ten Commandments.
The situation is much worse than that, however. Each sect seems to have its own way of numbering. Sometimes, in spite of numbering, the commandments aren’t even the same. For instance, the Jewish Talmud takes “I am the Lord thy God.” as the first commandment and combines the usual Christian first and second commandments as their second. Depending on their histories, many sects either exchange numberings or split one commandment and combine two others. Even Allah delivered the Ten Commandments in sura Al-Anam 6:151, which I think deserve to be posted in every courthouse in the nation. Whichever numbering you use, the most difficult one for me is not coveting my neighbor’s ass.
It’s good to know that when a judge feels it necessary to post THE Ten Commandments at an American courthouse, it’s always the Christian Ten Commandments, i.e., the Baptist version with a nod to the Church of Christ (because it was founded in 33 A.D.), and maybe a few Presbyterians. After all, as they and every American knows, our founding fathers meant for this be a Bible-believing Christian nation whose founding principles interpret the Bible the same way as current-day fundamentalists do.
We are blessed with seven states which deny atheists the right to run for office (Atheists and the Law). That list includes my Great State of Tennessee. I can just cross the border into Arkansas, and I can’t even testify in court. Thank God, some Christian judges in Arkansas have posted THE Ten Commandments and those untrustworthy atheists can’t even go to court to complain. Serves them right.
Still, we haven’t come to the end of the confusion about the commandments. There are the ethical Ten Commandments, or the Ethical Decalogue (Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:4-20). In Exodus 24:12, we find that God promised Moses three tablets, but Moses only returned with two written by the finger of God. What happened to the commandments on that third tablet? I suspect that Moses thought his followers were only capable of obeying the first ten commandments and wisely ditched the third stone.
But we’re still not through. The Ritual Decalogue is spelled out in Exodus 34:11-27, and this is the only place in the Bible (Exodus 34:28) in which the preceding passages are identified as THE Ten Commandments. Most Christians are quite surprised that this is even in the Bible – after all who bothers to read the Good Book? Here, we learn that murder, stealing, and adultery really aren’t that bad, but don’t you DARE neglect the Lord, your God.
Most politicians and judges couldn’t tell you the familiar version of the tenth commandment, much less, the only tenth commandment that the Bible identifies as such. For your entertainment and edification, it’s “Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk.” Here, it’s important to be Jewish to truly understand what God is saying. He’s not really talking about a baby goat and He doesn’t mean “don’t boil it in it’s mother’s milk”, and in fact (and you can be forgiven for not seeing this), He’s not talking about milk or goats at all. God is commanding you not to eat a cheeseburger. As an immediate corollary, you also can’t drink milk at any meal in which you consume meat of any kind. You’re welcome.
And while we’re at it, it has been relatively recently determined that giraffes are clean animals, for they have cloven hooves (like the East Tennessee version of Satan) and they cheweth cud, so Noah had to take seven pairs of them on his ark – a point missed by Answers in Genesis and the Ark Experience. Now the next time you’re at a restaurant that serves giraffe, you only need to check to see if it was properly slaughtered and that a rabbi has said the magic words to make it kosher. Trust me, you really don’t want road kill.
At last, we get to the second blog that sent me on my path of inspiration. It was by Ubi Dubium. Ubi is looking for words that fulfill specific niches for orphaned ideas. The one that caught my attention was the need to have a word describing turf-marking to prove the dominance of your particular group. For instance, plastering a courthouse with the ten commandments, requiring “In God We Trust” on all currency, or inserting “Under God” into a certain oft-repeated pledge.
I commented that when I think of marking, it brings up a vivid image of an animal marking its territory with its scent gland or urine, and that “marking” in that sense perfectly describes what you’re doing when you put “In God We Trust” on all our money. I conceded that we still need a word to conjure the image of what an animal does when we see a majority group require everyone to participate in their dominance. Several of Ubi’s readers had good suggestions. My only real complaint is that our motto is incomplete. It should read “In God We Trust. All Others Pay Cash.”
And with that, my sermon comes to a close. I hope you had as much fun as I did.