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September 5

Exodus 20, 13

Something to read

You shall not murder.

To read the King James Version, click here

Something to think about

This commandment appears straightforward. I would imagine that ‘You shall not murder’ would appear in most peoples top ten laws for life. A human life is sacred and no-one has the right to take the life of another.

Yet murder is a sad reality. As I write, four murders are being investigated as a consequence of this week’s looting and vandalism in our cities.

It is likely that over 600 homicides will be reported in the UK this year. The figures worldwide are alarming and staggering. What causes one person to take another’s life? What can we do to protect children who are neglected to the point of death?

For God’s people, this command raises challenges about issues as varied as war, capital punishment, abortion, and death caused by economic injustice and environmental abuse etc.

And Jesus demands that we think in terms of our own anger and hateful feelings to others which may not lead to murder but which may be expressed in phrases such as ‘I could kill you’, ‘You’re a waste of space’, ‘It would have been better if you had never been born’. (Matthew 5 v21-22)

Something to do

As you view the news media make a note of any who have been murdered and pray specifically for their family, friends and communities. Pray also for those responsible for the murder.

Something to pray

Loving God, Creator of life,
you hate bloodshed and love peace.
We pray for all those whose lives have been stolen
by acts of violence, abuse or neglect.
We pray for those who mourn -
wipe away their tears and restore their hope.
We pray for those who protect us from death –
give them wisdom and strength.
Help us to examine the anger in our own hearts - lead us to seek peace and reconciliation.
Take away words and thoughts of hatred –
replace them with love.
In the name of Jesus our healer and transformer.
Amen.

Today’s contributor is the Rev Jeremy Allcock, Vicar of St. Stephen’s, Westbourne Park, west London, and Area Dean of Paddington.

 

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