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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Large Catechism – part 104

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From the Word: But why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Third Commandment

This commandment is disobeyed not only by those who grossly abuse and desecrate the holy day because of their greed or frivolity, neglecting to hear God’s Word or lying in taverns, dead drunk as swine. It is also broken by another crowd who listen to God’s Word as if it were any other trifle, only coming to preaching out of habit, then going their way, and at the end of the year knowing as little of the Word as at the beginning.

Pulling It Together: “There’s the rub!” as Shakespeare had Hamlet say. What is the origin of this famous saying? Believe it or not; it comes from bowling. To be precise, it originates in lawn bowling. A “rub” is anything in the grass that impedes or alters the progress of the ball as it rolls toward its target. Shakespeare might have had Jesus say, Why don’t you do as I say? There’s the rub!

Now, in terms of the Third Commandment, there are many rubs. The goal of the commandment is communion with God and his people through hearing the Word proclaimed. A rub is anything that gets in the way of that — from sporting events to sleeping in to working to any of the lame excuses we hear people make, and that we also sometimes make. A Third Commandment rub can even be showing up for church, but failing to listen to Jesus who is Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5). You would have completely missed the point of being there.

Prayer: Help me, Holy Spirit, to hear your Word so that you make my life an orchard. Amen.

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