You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
This Thursday at Trinity Commons, from 5-6 pm, we begin our five-week Lenten series focused on what the Bible has to tell us about money and possessions. How we understand and order our lives around money and possessions says a lot about who we are as people, as well as where we place our trust. The starting point for any understanding of money and possessions begins at Sinai, with the covenant Moses makes with God expressed in what we know as the 10th Commandment, against coveting. To covet refers to an attitude of desire, but it’s a desire with an inability to understand that what we desire is not properly our own. Faced with the desire to possess, we live as seduced by our desire which skews our life. To covet isn’t just to want but to want AND take.
What underlies the prohibition to covet is an understanding of our neighbor. The word ‘neighbor’ occurs three times in verse 17, and it’s the first usage in the Decalogue.
The reality that we have a neighbor lies at the heart of the commandment against coveting and lies at the heart of our life together, which is what the Decalogue is fundamentally all about. Learning how to live with other people, and learning how to live without fear, without shame, without resentment, anger, and hostility isn’t just the challenge of our time, it was the challenge of Israel wandering homeless in the wilderness.
Being in the wilderness can be useful as we sort some things out, examine our values, create some priorities. You don’t need a lot of money or a lot of possessions in order to want to hear and discuss your relationship with them; ultimately these objects are about the ways we relate to God and one another. Over the course of the next five weeks, we’ll also hear from the Prophets, from the words of Jesus, from Paul, and from the Book of Revelation (a vision of the new Jerusalem). Join us from 5-6p m at Trinity Commons to listen, examine, enjoy community (as well as some delicious snacks), and come and find your life in God with your neighbor.