-It used to be decades ago that confirmands had to memorize the Small Catechism, including the Ten Commandments and Luther's explanations. This is still a good -but daunting- thing to do, but the terror following the confirmands was the Sunday when they all had to stand in front of the whole congregation and be quizzed on the Small Catechism by the pastor. One person noted how it was a great embarrassment to the parents if a confirmand couldn't rattle back to the pastor the meanings.
-Luther extends this commandment to mean anyone in authority, not merely parents. How do people honor authority figures that they may disagree with?
-What about honoring those in authority who do horrendous, despicable things? What shall we do in these cases? Click here to read how the famous theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer worked through such a scenario.
-Take a look at Matthew 5:17-32 to set some extra context for this and the sixth commandment. What surprises you here?
-This is not just actual murder, but all acts seeking to dominate and destroy others, particularly violence.
-Pastor Josh once knew someone who lived on an acreage. It was a beautiful lot, but unfortunately the lot next door was owned by someone who was determined to dominate the neighborhood. This neighbor frequently disputed the lot boundaries, even taking it upon himself to move fences and landscaping. This neighbor even threatened Pastor's acquaintance a number of times. He felt so unsafe with this neighbor around that he contemplated selling his property. Nobody was killed in this instance, but the neighbor was seeking to “kill” others in the neighborhood.
-Luther instead encourages us to lift up the lives of others. One of us this morning connected the fifth commandment to products made overseas in poor working conditions and for just as poor wages. As the nations of this world are becoming economically intertwined, how can we seek the good of others in other countries by how we use our money and other assets?
-Notice this structure of Luther's explanation changes here. Instead of, “Don't do that, instead do this,” it now reads, “do this, and do this too.”
-For Luther, the sixth commandment was like an extension of the fifth (respecting human life). Here, we are called to respect and uphold the relationships into which people are together united. We shouldn't, in our greed and desire, seek to tear those good things apart. Seeking to steal a married person away from his/her marriage robs those people of dignity; they become more like an object rather than someone who is loved and cherished. See 2 Samuel 11:3-27.
-Responsibility in marriage is not just an individual one, but one shared by the whole community. Stable and healthy marriages tremendously add to a healthy society, allowing for greater economic security among families as well as lending further safety to children who are part of those families.