In reviewing the Ten Commandments there is a good reason why the first Commandment comes first. It is because it is the most important. In fact, were we to keep the first Commandment, the other nine would be no problem whatsoever!
“You shall have no other gods.” And Luther explains the Commandment in a simple line easily committed to memory: “We are to fear, love, and trust God above anything else.” We are also reminded of the gravity of this command when the Lord God warns us, “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me” (Ex. 20:5-6). And Luther explains this warning, “We are to fear his wrath and not disobey him.”
The problem for us is that we come into this world as children of our disobedient parents, Adam and Eve. We find ourselves, in words we repeat most every Sunday, in bondage to sin and unable to free ourselves. We not only do not reverence, love and trust God, but we turn to idols (false gods) whom we fear, love, and trust more than the true and only God and Creator of all that exists, the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Were we to fear, love, and trust God we would easily observe everything He commanded, taught, and promised. But since we often succumb to the lies of the devil, our rebellious sinful nature, and the world, we accordingly don’t trust that our heavenly Father knows what’s best for us and His creation. We think we can find happiness elsewhere.
The Lord God is a jealous God in much the same way a loving parent insists that their children turn to them for help. He knows he is the source of life and every blessing. He knows anywhere else we turn is a dead end street, filled with empty promises, only leading to death.
Since You Asked…
Are announcements necessary? And should they be included as a part of the liturgy?
Not all announcements are necessary! Nor should they be allowed to disrupt the rhythmic flow of the service. It is likewise important that announcements be kept to a minimum. But certain announcements are important. Information that will enhance participation in the worship, information pertaining to further Christian service, and information for regarding further opportunities for spiritual edification are such announcements of importance, and they are worthwhile to promote publicly to the assembly. We have chosen the beginning of the worship service as the most helpful and least disruptive placement for announcements.