Black Pearls | This is a genuine black pearl necklace, it wa… | Flickr

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

My wife likes black pearls. Good ones are expensive. A while back I found a great deal on a string of high-quality black pearls. So, I bought them and had a necklace and earrings made. What struck me about this string was how beautiful the pearls were when strung together. This was especially apparent when the jeweler cut the string and I saw the pearls roll in separate directions. Fortunately, he restrung them on a solid string with a strong clasp to keep them together.

A string of pearls like the one I gave my wife reminds me of God’s Ten Commandments. I don’t recall where, but I read that these individual pearls are all strung, one next to the other, on the infinitely strong string of God’s 1st commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) They are, when you ponder them deeply, a beautiful gift from God. He strung them together to show us how HE DESIGNED US to live in His creation. However, if you separate the commandments from this string, allow them to roll around, they lose their beauty. 

But God has kept them together. The 1st commandment strings the others TOGETHER as a beautiful gift. Think about it, many – even atheists – think murder is immoral, stealing is bad, and lying is wrong. And they’re correct. But, without being tied together on the infinite strength of God’s word and love found in the 1st commandment, their thoughts are nothing more than good words to live by. 

However, once they’re tied together in God’s word and love we see how we are to live, not only with God, but with all His other creatures. We “fear, love, and trust in God above all things” – Martin Luther’s explanation of the 1st commandment – by responding to His love for us in keeping all the other commandments. And when we fall short, we again respond to His love by returning to Him alone to receive His forgiveness on account of His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.

                                                                                         In Christ’s Love,

                                                                                        Pastor Jim