Reflections: February 11, 2021
Thursday of Sexagesima
By Jacob Ehrhard
You shall not murder. (Small Catechism: The Fifth Commandment)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Fifth through Eighth Commandments deal with our neighbors. They are certainly prohibitions against sin--"you shall not"--but they are also implicit instructions for us to love and serve our neighbor. These commandments deal with our neighbor's body and life, husband or wife, possessions, and reputation.
These are all good gifts from God, and we do not have the authority to deprive our neighbors of God's good gifts. Furthermore, God sends us into the world as His agents to help, support, and provide the gifts He gives. The nearest gift anyone has is his or her own body and life. From the moment of your conception until the day of your death, you cannot escape your body. It is an integral part of who you are, regardless of how weak and frail it is on account of sin.
God created humans as embodied creatures, creatures of flesh and blood; it is not His will that we be separated from or deprived of our bodies or lives. It's no coincidence that the second sin recorded in Scripture is murder. God gives life in the body and sinners want to take that away.
Of course, not all murder takes physical life. The Fifth Commandment forbids hate, anger, and name-calling as well. See what Jesus has to say about it in what we call His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21-26). The seed of murder is anger. So we need to learn to repent of murder even if we have never committed the actual deed.
The Fifth Commandment should also point us to the fact that God assumed a human body. God is concerned about bodies because Jesus has a body. And that means we should help and support our neighbors in every physical, bodily need. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
"You shall not murder, hurt, nor hate; Your anger dare not dominate. Be kind and patient; help, defend, And treat your foe as your friend." Have mercy, Lord! ("These Are the Holy Ten Commands" LSB 581, st.6)
-Rev. Jacob Ehrhard is the pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church and School in Chicago, IL.
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