Remember the sabbath

As best I can tell, most Christians follow eight commandments, not ten. The second commandment was dispatched at the Council of Nicea in 787, when the church decided graven images were OK. If it had pleased God to become incarnate in a person, the church reasoned, then it should not displease God for us to have images of that person. Iconoclasts have continued to rise up over the years, but few Christians regard icons, stained glass windows or Jesus T-shirts as sinful.

The fourth commandment has undergone a more gradual demise. When Jesus declared that the sabbath was made for humankind and not humankind for the sabbath, many of his followers deduced that they were free from sabbath observance. Since the rabbis themselves had said as much ("Sabbath has been given to you; you have not been given to the sabbath"), it seems more likely that Jesus was sharpening his disciples' sense of sabbath as divine gift instead of divine burden.


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