by The Reverend Clive Thrower



Exodus 17.1-7

John 4.5-42




I was a bit disappointed this past week when my granddaughter showed me the slimming app on her phone.  The app designers have all the food bar codes they can find on their system so all she does is point her phone at the food package bar code and it tells her how many sins it contains.  She has a daily limit of how many sins she is allowed to consume!  It devalues the idea of sin from being something not allowed at all, let alone being given a daily allowance.  God didn’t give the Hebrews ten suggestions but ten laws.

You might like to turn back to page 15 in the service booklet to look at the Decalogue or Ten Commandments.  Keep your finger in the page, you’ll need it look again. Most are negatives ‘do nots’ just two are positive ‘Keep the Sabbath holy’ and ‘Honour your father and your mother’.  Psychologists tell us that positive messaging is more effective than negative, a case of ‘please keep to the footpath’ being better than ‘keep off the grass’.


Fortunately for us Christians Jesus gave us a summary of the Commandments in positive forms (we say these in church at other seasons than Lent) which are Love God with all your heart, mind and strength and Love your neighbour as yourself.

We give special emphasis to the commandments during Lent to remind ourselves of our sinful nature such that at Easter we can celebrate our salvation in Jesus dying for our sins upon the cross.  And by His forgiveness of our sins look forward with renewed vigour to lead a virtuous life henceforth.


A reminder of the Commandments of God is the Jewish prayer known best by its first word ‘Shema’ taken from verse 4 of Deuteronomy chapter 6 just after the Ten Commandments appear (note that there various lists of commandments in Exodus and Deuteronomy). Its English translation is Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord in one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  If you were to visit our house in Bakewell you would find at the door a little plaque having an inscription in Latin and English saying Peace be to those who enter in.  There’s also a little oblong box called a Mezuzah, it contains a scroll on which is written that text from Deuteronomy.  On the outside is usually the first letter either in classic script of sometimes highly symbolic and modern like this (graphic of w).  The command in Deuteronomy is that the law be written on their doorposts and on their foreheads (which is why you see traditional Jewish men with a thin leather strap round their foreheads holding a little square box – in it is the text of the law).


Now I am going to ask you to be brave and raise your hand if in your life you have ever broken one or more of the ten commandments (N.B. stealing by finding is still stealing) and I will lead by example by raising my hand. Raise hand and wait.

That reminds me of the story of the vicar who lost his bike and thinking one of his congregation might have stolen he preached on the ten commandments looking for any reaction in the faces looking at him when he got to the one before ‘Thou shalt not steal’ he remembered where he had left his cycle.  I rejected my wife’s suggestion that when you had your hands in the air I started to say hands down those who have committed murder, hands down if you have committed adultery, and so on.


If you raised your hand Lent is for you and even if you didn’t I bet there have been moments of temptation so Lent is for you too.  A time to look through the list of ten and think about to keep God’s commandments, or you might prefer to contemplate the summary that Jesus gave us.  There is a need to not be too literal but think how weasel words get used to get round the spirit of these commands. To bring this home to you I am going to end with a poem from the 19th century, it’s by Arthur Hugh Clough and it’s called The Latest Decalogue.


Thou shalt have one God only; who

Would be at the expense of two?

No graven images may be

Worshipp'd, except the currency:

Swear not at all; for, for thy curse

Thine enemy is none the worse:

At church on Sunday to attend

Will serve to keep the world thy friend:

Honour thy parents; that is, all

From whom advancement may befall:

Thou shalt not kill; but need'st not strive

Officiously to keep alive:

Do not adultery commit;

Advantage rarely comes of it:

Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat,

When it's so lucrative to cheat:

Bear not false witness; let the lie

Have time on its own wings to fly:

Thou shalt not covert; but tradition

Approves all forms of competition.


Coffee/ Tea at 10:15am, talk at 10:30am

in the Cavendish Chapel, St.Peter’s, Edensor - Everyone welcome!


Thursday 30 March

The Road to Confirmation

Peter Davie (St Peter’s congregation)




(with donkeys Puck and Treacle!) Revd Canon Nicky Fenton (Acting Archdeacon)


03 Apr 7:00pm COMPLINE

Revd Stephen Monk


04 Apr 7:00pm COMPLINE

Revd Stephen Monk


05 Apr 7:00pm COMPLINE



Holy Communion (at St Anne’s Beeley)


07 Apr 2:00pm GOOD FRIDAY

Quiet Hour with Revd Clive Thrower


08 Apr 7:00pm EASTER EVE VIGIL

Revd Stephen Monk


09 Apr. EASTER DAY 10:45 BCP Holy Communion


Chatty Crafts in St. Peter’s, Edensor

Last Thursday in every month  10-30am - 12noon

All welcome, any craft and any ability or if you are not feeling crafty then come along anyway and have a chat!