7th Sunday in Kingdomtide
World Communion Sunday
“The Traits Of A Steward”
Exodus 20:1–4, 7–9, 12–20
The Ten Commandments were given to an already elected, redeemed, believing, and worshiping community. They only have to do is to shape their daily life on the part of those already in relationship with God. The commandments give shape to Israel’s vocation. At the same time, the Ten Commandments specify no judicial consequences for disobedience. Their being obligatory is not conditional on their being enforceable. Their appeal is to a deeper grounding and motivation: these are the commands of the Lord your God, who has created you and redeemed you.
“You shall have no other gods before me” introduces the commandments and gives shape to all the others. Idolatry is the focus. But how will we define idolatry? It commonly has reference to material images; the story of the golden calf comes to mind. In such cases, “other gods” is shaped by the commandment against graven images in Exodus 20:4. “Other gods” could include any person, place, thing or even our very own selves that we hold to be more important or as important as God.
These “other gods” could also lift up the long-standing gods who have long been worshiped among us, such as money, property, fame, power … the list is long which yields to selfishness and greed. The command is to be absolutely loyal to God. This commandment is the grounding for all other commandments, which draw out what loyalty to God entails in various aspects of the relationship. True faith plus faithful Obedience yields to Fruitful Communion.
Meanwhile in the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Matthew, the vineyard owner and the vineyard renters are engaged in violent conflict, and that is bad for grapes. No grapes plus no wine equals empty cups and eventually no World Communion.