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So What?

So What?

by Shelley Walters on July 09, 2024

So What?

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
~ John 13:34

A question I love to ask when I am preparing to preach happens to be one of the questions that I enjoyed asking as a teenager: “So what?” While these two words could be used to deem something unimportant or uninteresting, they can also be used to dig for vital theological understanding around “why.”

This Sunday we will conclude “The Ten Best Ways to Live,” our worship series on the Ten Commandments. While exploring these divine commands from thousands of years ago, I have found myself asking, “So what? What does this say to us now? How do these impact lives?”

Throughout the series we have referenced Jerome Berryman, the creator and author of Godly Play curriculum that helps children understand God‘s message and love for us. Berryman paraphrases the Ten Commandments for children as:

1. Don’t serve other gods.
2. Make no idols to worship.
3. Be serious when you say my name.
4. Keep the Sabbath holy.
5. Honor your parents.
6. Don’t kill.
7. Don’t break your marriage.
8. Don’t steal.
9. Don’t lie.
10. Don’t even want what others have.

When I read these – even written in this simple way – the 15-year-old in me still wants to say, “so what?” and dismiss this list as obvious, old, and negative. To work with that part of myself, I spent just a little time paraphrasing these commandments through a lens of love and joy:

1. Love God our Creator.
2. Center all you do in Divine purpose.
3. Use God’s name and Word to bring love, hope, and joy in the world.
4. Love through holy rest.
5. Listen to and learn from wisdom-sharers.
6. Love life.
7. Love one another through service and commitment.
8. Be grateful and live in a way that helps ensure all have what they need.
9. Love through honesty.
10. Love through gratitude.

You might have a totally different way of paraphrasing and claiming these for yourself. You might find the answer to “so what?” could be that this ancient text serves as a foundation for our rules in society, but it could also be that this becomes a guide for you to love your neighbor, love yourself, and live in a joyful way.


Now What?

Take some time in spiritual practice around these “Ten Best Ways.” Through journaling, drawing, thinking while walking, or meditating, consider these questions:

Read through the commandments, and ask: what might God be guiding me to pay attention to?

How am I in love with God?

What am I grateful for? How might God be guiding me to bring love, hope, and joy in the world?

Tags: ten commandments

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