Beyond Stone Tablets

As I read about the uproar in Oklahoma over the State Supreme Court’s ruling to remove the Ten Commandments monument at the State House, I couldn’t help but think that those who are or are about to get bent out of shape over this may be doing something wrong.  Here is one of three instances of the same idea, first from Jeremiah in the OT and twice in Hebrews in the NT: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds…” –Heb 10.16

No, that doesn’t remove the sting of the ruling.  But what it says to me is that there would come a time when stone tablets would not be necessary.  We don’t just live in fear of violating the Ten Commandments.  We live by a new command, at once easier to remember but in many cases harder to enact: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13.34.

And it is important to also remember that while some in government may be pressing for people of faith to change their beliefs, the faith supported by those laws written in our hearts and minds is not subject to government approval or regulation.

I can’t help but think of the old hymn, “Faith of Our Fathers.”  In a verse added to Frederick Faber’s original lyrics, we are reminded, “Our fathers, chained in prisons dark, / Were still in heart and conscience free.”  As of this writing, I am unaware of any Christian believer who has been imprisoned and is under threat of death in this country for his or her beliefs.  To predict such is easy, but unfruitful.  Hand-wringing and anxiety engender nothing but more hand-wringing and anxiety.

The last verse of Faber’s hymn concludes

“Faith of our fathers, we will love

Both friend and foe in all our strife;

And preach Thee, too, as love knows how

By kindly words and virtuous life.”

I can think of no better resolution than this.


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