Exodus 20: 1-20

Illustrated New Resources

  • Sermon Starters (Lent 3B)(2021)

    by Stan Mast
    When he was just a toddler, our youngest grandson had no sense of danger. He careened around the house wildly with no regard for potential harm to his person. He had a particular fascination with the steps going down to the basement. He would charge up to the brink and peer down with a delighted grin on his face. We babysitting grandparents would sternly say, “No, no!” But he continued to court danger. So, his parents put up a gate that barred his entrance. He would stand on his tiptoes to gaze over it. He would shake it. Try to open it. Sometimes shout at it in frustration. He hated that gate. Then one day, we forgot to close the gate and before we knew it, he had taken one wild step into the void. We heard him bounce down those stairs and found him unconscious at the bottom. He came to and was fine, after we nearly died in fear. Were our stern “No’s’” and that annoying gate intended to ruin his life? No, exactly the opposite. So it is with God’s Law.
  • Lent 3B (2021)

    by Aimee Niles
    In “The Good Place,” Arizona dirtbag Eleanor Shellstrop is a selfish, condescending, self-absorbed bench who finds herself embarking upon the project of becoming a “good” person in the afterlife (spoiler alert). Bespectacled and insufferable moral philosopher (everyone hates moral philosophy professors) Chidi Anagonya provides a litany of texts and thinkers to help Eleanor become a better person–including Aristotle, Immanual Kant, Tim Scanlon, and Jonathan Dancy. In the second season, Eleanor tries to become a “good” person by following rules and engaging in “moral” action only to fail. It is only when her moral journey is based in relationship with the rest of Team Cockroach that she begins to make progress. Without commentary or judgment upon the accuracy of this TV show’s vision of the afterlife, or it’s moral foundations, what The Good Place can illustrate is the limits of good behavior. It’s not enough to follow the rules, one must be shaped in relationship. This is what Jesus concluded in Matthew 22: The Greatest Commandments encourage right relationship with God and with others...

Other New Resources

Illustrated Resources from 2015 to 2020

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Proper 22A (2017)

    by Doug Bratt
    The one scene in To Kill a Mockingbird that always makes tears leap to my eyes comes after the unjust guilty verdict is handed down by the all-white jury. The trial is over and so the main floor of the courtroom has emptied out. But the balcony, where the black people of the segregated community had to sit, is still packed and with every single person up there standing silently and as if standing at attention. The only white person up there—and the only one still sitting—is Atticus’ daughter, Scout. While Atticus silently packs up his briefcase at the defense table, one black man nudges Scout and says, “Stand up, Miss Scout, stand up!” The child asks, “How come?” And the answer comes back, “Your father’s passing by.” And as Atticus Finch exits the courtroom, every black person in the balcony stands reverently before this white man whom they have come to respect and adore.
  • Lent 3B (2018)

    by Doug Bratt
    A dentist had extracted EMT Jack Casey’s tooth under general anesthetic when he was a child. The procedure had terrified him. However, a nurse told Jack, “Don’t worry; I’ll be right here beside you no matter what happens.” When he awoke from surgery he found her still standing right next to him. Nearly twenty years later people called Jack’s ambulance crew to the scene of a terrible accident. Jack crawled inside the flipped pick-up’s cab to pull the driver out of the wreckage. Since gasoline was dripping all over the place, there was a real danger of fire. The driver kept telling Jack how afraid he was. So Jack told him, “Look, don’t worry. I’m not going to abandon you.” After Jack had rescued him, the shocked driver told him, “You were an idiot. My truck could have exploded and burned up both of us.” Jack answered that he felt he just couldn’t leave him, just as his nurse had earlier felt she couldn’t leave him. When we lovingly care for our neighbors, we also imitate God. Jack Casey’s faithfulness gave the accident victim, his ambulance crew and others a glimpse of the God who stays right beside God’s people to the very end of measured time and beyond.
  • Lent 3B (2015)

    by Delmer Chilton
    Scroll down the page for this resource.
  • Try Again

    by Bart Dalton
    Once there was a man named Milton, who was born in Derry Church, Pennsylvania to two very proud parents in Philadelphia in the mid 1800’s. His father was an energetic entrepreneur, who always had his eye on the next big opportunity, but who did not seem to have a strong enough work ethic to stick with anything very long. His mother finally grew tired of her husband’s failed attempts and separated from him, taking their son, Milton, and leaving to be with her family...
  • Lent 3B (2015)

    by Terence Fretheim
  • Lent 3B (2015)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Preaching Helps (Lent 3B)(2015)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("One of my favorite scenes in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy comes in the first film The Fellowship of the Ring. Gandalf the wizard had just fallen in the mines of Moria, felled by the terrible Balrog, a fiery and demonic creature of the ancient world that had been attracted to the Fellowship by the powerful Ring of Power that Frodo carried...")
  • The Ultimate Roommate Agreement

    by Beth Johnston
    One of the shows I try to catch several times a week is “The Big Bang Theory,” now in re-runs. One of the main characters, Dr. Sheldon Cooper, a theoretical physicist, child prodigy, self- centred hypochondriac, and, by far, the oddest of the bunch, puts a lot of stock in his multi-page “room mate agreement” - outlining what others could and could not do if they lived in “his” apartment and this document was certainly crafted to his advantage. His frustrated friends seem to just put up with his eccentric ways...Since I can’t possibly do justice to the 10 Commandments in one sermon, all I want to do is to give you something to think about, in regard to these familiar rules, this “roommate agreement for living in God’s house.”...
  • My Father's House

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("'Stop making my Father's house a market place' says Jesus, but the Greek word for house which he uses here isn't a word that simply refers to a physical building. It is the word oikos, and it would perhaps better be translated household than house. It encompassed not just the bricks and mortar, but the people who lived in the building, family members, servants, hangers-on. The word oikos gives us a wealth of words in English, basically anything that starts with eco-. Economics, ecology, ecosystems; they all derive from oikos...")
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 22A)(2020)

    by Stan Mast
    The notion that a law can help us be free goes against the lawless instincts of those who live by the motto of “if it feels good, do it.” But that notion is at the heart of my country, “the land of the free, the home of the brave.” (My apologies to all the citizens of other great countries.) The beloved anthem, “America the Beautiful,” expresses that in these words that seem to echo our text: “Oh, beautiful for pilgrim feet, whose stern impassioned stress a thoroughfare of freedom beat across the wilderness! American! America! God mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.”
  • Every Sunday (Exodus)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. But we rarely see it. It used to be slightly more common. The two examples below are from previous centuries, so in them God is depicted as a bearded man. On the left is a Creation icon from Russia focusing on the seventh day and God's resting from work. In the version here, God has abandoned his throne for his bed and is literally napping, though his right hand is making a gesture, apparently of blessing.
  • Boiling Down the Commandments

    by Larry Patten
    In Mel Brooks’ 1981 film History of the World-Part 1, Moses strides down the mountain with three stone tablets. “God gave us fifteen—” Oops! Moses (played of course by Brooks) dropped one. It shattered. Hmmm? “God gives us ten commandments.” Charlton Heston, surely closer to Moses’ appearance than Mel Brooks, witnessed the commandments being created, word-by-word, phrase-by-phrase. A holy fire blazed and cut each rock-bound letter. How many people are more familiar with Cecille B. DeMille’s 1956 The Ten Commandments than the Bible’s top ten list? I mean, isn’t DeMille’s film really a documentary?...
  • The Verbs of Lent 3

    by Larry Patten
  • Proper 22A (2017)

    by Matt Pollock
    My lawyer friend, Dan, teaches kindergarten kids every Sunday morning. One week he was all primed to unload the doctrine of creation on his eager five-year-old jury. He would bait them with the question, “How did God create the world?” They would answer wrongly. He would exhaust their guesses and then reveal the correct answer. So he began, “Hey, kids! How did God create the world?” Kaitlyn’s hand shot up and she blurted out, “By spoking it.”...
  • Living Within Limits

    by Keith Wagner
    ("If you can't call the police, who can you turn to? That's the dilemma Police Officer Wayne Barton faced eleven years ago in Boca Raton, Florida when a resident complained to him about officers not responding to calls of violence. After looking further into the complaint, he found a community crying out for help. People had lost pride in their neighborhoods. They'd accepted run down conditions and the illegal activity taking place on their streets. His heart was moved by their circumstances and I was determined to do something about them...")
  • Not for Sale

    by Carlos Wilton
    ("One of my favorite movies of all time is an out-of-the-way South African comedy from 1980 called The Gods Must Be Crazy. What happens in the film is that an airplane is flying over Africa’s Kalahari desert, and the pilot has just finished drinking a bottle of Coca-Cola — you know, one of those old-fashioned, curvy green bottles you don’t see anymore. In an act of high-tech littering, he opens the window of the cockpit and just drops the empty bottle out..." and other illustrations)
  • Images of Moses

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources from 2009 to 2014

  • Imperative or Indicative?

    by Mickey Anders
    ("Today I want remind you of two important four syllable words - imperative and indicative. They are words we all know even if we don't use them every day. And their meanings are very straight-forward. Imperative means something that is absolutely necessary or required, as in, 'It is imperative that we leave.'...")
  • Ancient Words for Modern Live: The Ten Commandments

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("The third commandment about the name of God warns us not only about our casual presumptions. It reminds us of the limits of our language when we speak about the Wholly Other God. CS Lewis captures the practical implications of this in his Footnote to All Prayers. 'He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring Thou, And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing Thou art...")
  • Etched by the Finger of God

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("There is a story that one night Martin Luther went to sleep troubled about his sin. In a dream, he saw an angel standing by a blackboard and at the top of the board was Luther's name. The angel, chalk in hand, was listing all of Luther's sins, and the list filled the blackboard. Luther shuddered in despair, feeling that his sins were so many that he could never be forgiven...")
  • Preaching Helps (Lent 3B)(2009)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("As Roger Shattuck notes in his book Forbidden Knowledge, it seems that nothing is any longer considered taboo. In older societies the things that were deemed taboo or off-limits usually were places where holiness and pollution were not yet differentiated...")
  • Preaching Helps (Proper 22A)(2011)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Some years back the American Film Institute conducted a big survey to determine the top 100 heroes in cinematic history. Happily, and somewhat surprisingly, the number one movie hero was not some gun-toting, violent figure but instead the character of Atticus Finch from the film To Kill a Mockingbird....")
  • God's Loving Wisdom

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several quotes)
  • God Cares About Justice

    by David Leininger
    "The Gallup organization regularly conducts polls to determine the religious beliefs and practices of modern Americans. Despite new attitudes about morality, fluctuations in church membership, higher levels of education, and so on, there have been remarkably few changes in responses in recent years..."
  • I Am the Lord, Your God

    by Martin Lohrmann
  • Grounded with Vision?

    by Beth Johnston
    ("Because Mr Zehaf-Bibeau was a member of an identifiable minority group, one or more people in Cold Lake, Alberta, targeted the local mosque with ant-Muslim graffiti. The words 'go home' and 'Canada' were spray painted on the mosque. Early in the morning a group of more thinking people, including military personnel from the local base in uniform arrived to clean up the grafitti and replace the words with posters indicating that these folks were home and were welcome...")
  • Champions of the Big Ten

    by Jim McCrea
    ("Cathy Barker had a clever idea for celebrating World Communion Sunday. She intermingled the Ten Commandments with stories of how those commandments are being applied in a positive way to make a difference in the lives of people around the globe. I borrowed her idea back then for a sermon with different stories than hers and I'm doing it now, too, although all the stories are once again new...")
  • Law, Economy, Freedom and Community

    by Debra Dean Murphy
    ("There's a running gag on Comedy Central's Colbert Report in which the fake-bluster, windbag host, Stephen Colbert, interviews members of Congress in a segment called Better Know a District"...)
  • I've Broken All Ten

    by Larry Patten
    ("In 2003's The Pirates of the Caribbean, the pirate Barbossa explained to Elizabeth, 'First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement so I must do nothing. And secondly, you must be a pirate for the pirate's code to apply and you're not. And thirdly, the code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.'...")
  • Posted on My Heart

    by Larry Patten
    ("How do I best honor my parents? My 95-year old father has dementia. My mother is often overwhelmed with caregiving and decision-making, along with her own health concerns. As a child, wasn't doing what they told me to do - most of the time - sufficient for parental honor? The commandment remains; how I interpret it changes...")
  • The Ten Commandments: Their Current Status

    from Religious Tolerance
    ("The Ten Commandments have widespread respect in North America, even among some Atheists, Agnostics, and other non-Christians. However, many of the individual commandments are currently ignored...")
  • The Vineyard and the Days of Awe

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ["The last word is aptly spoken by Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, who was shot at the altar by those who considered him a rebellious tenant of the land: It is very easy to be servants of the word without disturbing the world: a very spiritualized word, a word without any commitment to history, a word that can sound in any part of the world because it belongs to no part of the world...."]
  • Lectionary Reflections (Exodus 20)

    by Various Authors
    ("You shall have no God but me; before no idol bow your knee; Take not the name of God in vain, nor do the sabbath day profane...")
  • The Beginning of Wisdom

    by Carlos Wilton
    ("There's a scene in C.S. Lewis' The Horse and His Boy when a mare by the name of Hwin is meeting Aslan, the lion, for the first time. Aslan, of course, is the character in those novels who symbolizes Jesus Christ. 'Please,' she says to him — observing this mighty lion in all his terrifying power. 'You're so beautiful. You may eat me if you like. I'd sooner be eaten by you than fed by anyone else.'..." and another illustration)

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Ten Words

    by Dan Clendenin
  • Top Ten

    by Rob Elder
    Mark Twain once told of a conversation with a notoriously ruthless businessman, who said to him in passing, “Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where I will climb Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud at the top.” Mark Twain replied, “I have a better idea; you could stay home and keep them.”...
  • Keeping the Sabbath Wholly: Feasting

    by Heather Entrekin
    A gifted and thoughtful physician was talking about the effects of exhaustion on the quality of work. Physicians are trained to work when they are exhausted, to perform when they are sleep deprived, hurried, overloaded. "I discovered in medical school," this doctor said, "that if I saw a patient when I was tired or overworked, I would order a lot of tests. I was so exhausted, I couldn't tell exactly what was going on. I could see the symptoms, I could recognize the possible diagnoses, but I couldn't really hear how it all fit together. So I got in the habit of ordering a battery of tests, hoping they would tell me what I was missing. "But when I was rested — if I had an opportunity to get some sleep, or go for a quiet walk — when I saw the next patient, I could rely on my intuition and experience to give me a pretty accurate reading of what was happening. If there was uncertainty about my diagnosis, I would order a single, specific test to confirm or deny it. But when I could take the time to listen and be present with the patient and the illness, I was almost always right."...
  • Take Two Tablets And Call Me

    by Richard Fairchild
  • Wisdom For All Times

    by Richard Fairchild
  • How to Stay Free

    by James Fitzgerald
  • The Finger of God

    by Vince Gerhardy
  • God's Rules

    by Vince Gerhardy
  • Lent 2B (2000)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Not so long ago one of the radicals of the nineteen sixties was arrested and brought to court on a charge of murder. She had been the lockout in a robbery carried on her friends in which a policeman was killed...")
  • Lent 3B (1997)

    by Andrew Greeley
  • Preaching Helps (Proper 22A)(2008)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("In a gospel context, knowing and following the law and other legal and moral prescriptions is a good thing. But it must always be conjoined with and driven by love above all. For instance, shortly after World War II the World Council of Churches dispatched Rev. John Mackie, president of the Church of Scotland, to go the Balkan peninsula to see how the churches were doing in remote areas following the war...")
  • The Foolishness of God

    by Donald Hoffman
  • Lent 3B (2003)

    by Tod Mundo
    ("If Haydn's Creation deals with the sublime, the Grateful Dead's Truckin' deals with the mundane, but one stanza captures a sense of wonder, and even confusion, that everyone feels from time to time. In fact, if Jesus had been familiar with the lyrics, they might have been running through his mind as he stumbled along the Via Dolorosa carrying the cross...")
  • The Law, A Chalice

    by Anneke Oppewal
    ("The foot of the chalice represents the basis of a life with God. They are the commandments that refer to living our life with others. No false witness, no lying, no coveting. What is of another is sacred and should not be touched, not even in our minds...")
  • More Than

    by Allison St. Louis
  • One Lord, One Table

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
  • The Spirit of the Law

    by Keith Wagner

Other Resources from 2020

Other Resources from 2018 and 2019

Other Resources from 2014

Other Resources from 2011 to 2013

Other Resources from 2009 and 2010

Other Resources from 2000 to 2008

Resources from the Archives

Children's Resources and Dramas

Recursos en Español

The First Commandment (No Other Gods)(vss. 1-3)

The Second Commandment (Idolatry)(vss. 4-6)

The Fourth Commandment (Keeping the Lord's Day)(vss. 8-11)

The Fifth Commandment (Honoring Your Parents)(vs. 12)

The Sixth Commandment (Murder)(vs. 13)

The Tenth Commandment (Coveting)(vs. 17)

Currently Unavailable