How do we view the commandments? We honor them; we treasure them; we wish there was more obedience to them in the world out there. But do we see them as descriptive of our lives? Rather than seeing them as normative to everyone, what if we decided to see them as something we chose to be the guide for our lives? And what if we wanted to move from beyond the letter of this law into the spirit, what might that look like? Maybe the worship team could prepare cards with the commandments on them to hand out in worship. But instead of “thou shall” and “thou shalt not,” you translate the words as “You are…” Then the law becomes a reminder of who we are. You are the people who have one God. You are the people who respect boundaries. You are the people who value worship and giving honor to God. These become, not commandments from the outside, but descriptions of our inner intentions and experience. “You are …”
Christ as the cornerstone is another way of describing this inner-shaping process. Christ is what gives the church its shape, its definition and mission. Christ is what gives each of us our mission in life and reason for living. How do we present Christ as the cornerstone of our worship today? We can sing of Christ as our foundation and give praise to the one who shapes our living. Our prayer time can invite the Spirit to guide us into the right paths, even as we lift up others in our care, so that they too might know the light that directs our path.
Is there a hard edge to this process of shaping and being shaped? Certainly. But our call is not one of judgment on how others might be measuring up. Our call is to be the sign of those who are producing the fruit of the kingdom. As we worship, we invite the Spirit to work in us and through us to become workers in the vineyard, producing the fruit of the kingdom in ways that invite and encourage the body of Christ around us and the wider community of which we are a part.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.