ANSWER: First, that we know and trust God as the only true and living God. Second, that we avoid all idolatry and do not worship God improperly. Third, that we treat God's name with fear and reverence, honoring also his Word and works.
The kids of Christ the King are studying the prophets of the Old Testament right now and learning that Israel and Judah were guilty of breaking the first and second commandments (and others) on a regular basis (see Hosea 4:1-2 and Jeremiah 7:9-10). What about today? What are some contemporary gods and idols we love? After you've named your gods and idols, think of ways that the only true and living God differs from them.
Using God's name to express shock or frustration ("Oh my God!") is certainly prohibited by the third commandment. But are there other, subtler ways that we or others misuse the name of God? To ponder as you answer this question:
The [third] command also denies blasphemy, false testimony and "giving Yahweh a bad name" through inappropriate behavior. [Brevard] Childs adds that false teaching presented as deriving from Yahweh also amounts to taking God's name in vain. In other words, those who speak for or about Yahweh must adhere to the revealed canonical truth about Yahweh. They must also not use Yahweh's name for their own selfish purposes.
--Paul House, Old Testament Theology (IVP, 1998), p. 113.
Last week we looked at the statement God made before he gave the Ten Commandments: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery" (Exodus 20:2 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21). God had already saved the Israelites from a terrible situation when he gave them the commandments, so the laws were not to be viewed as a way to curry favor with God. Instead they were--and are--a "love gift" to God's beloved creatures; a way of telling us how to live in joyful communion with the God who created us, delivered us from slavery, and sustains us every day, as well as a way to live well with one another. Take some time this week to pray about obeying God's law using these words from our fellow parishioner Peggy Ingraham's This Holy Alphabet: Lyric Poems Adapted from Psalm 119 (Paraclete, 2009) p. 22:
Open compassion's womb
and hold me there
'Til I live to make Your law
my deep delight.
Help me to know Your precepts;
show me truth, Lord.
Make me discern
So I may learn
All You command.
We have fun Ten Commandment placemats for kids to use during (and after) Lent! They are laminated with heavy-duty plastic, so your kids can doodle and dribble to their hearts' content and then wipe clean. If you haven't already picked up your placemats, please check the table in the back of the sanctuary on Sunday.