The 6th Commandment: You shall not commit adultery.
Luther’s Small Catechism
What does this mean? We are to fear and love God, so that in matters of sex, our words and conduct are pure and honorable, and spouses love and respect each other.
Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. (1 Corinthians 12:14-26)
Paul’s words describing the purpose and interdependent nature of the human community through Christ could be extended to the natural world. With the 6th commandment, the 5th commandment’s ethic about not harming creatures could extend to not harming their closest relationships. We could think of it as a ripple effect through the ecosystem. For example, we might HATE mosquitos; they are the lowest form on the food chain. Yet, their loss could cause a ripple effect of losses throughout an ecosystem. Many orchids, for example, evolved to be pollinated by a single species of insect or bird. How might our world be different without bees to enable plants to reproduce?
Paul writes that Christians are “one body, with many members” and that we need each member to work the best. No member of the body is lesser than any other. The natural world, though ever changing, is also made up of interdependent relationships, and no creature is lesser than others.
Author Michael Pollan says humans have historically eaten 80,000 species but today products of four (corn, soybeans, wheat, rice) amount to 2/3 of our calories. Spread the love—and the genes! Buy food or plant a garden with something you wouldn’t normally—especially an heirloom variety.
In October 2017, Lutherans mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with the occasion of Martin Luther writing his 95 Theses. As a church that is “always reforming,” we know that the good news of God continues to encounter us in our life. We are invited to look at classic Lutheran teachings in new ways. These daily summer devotions look at Luther’s Small Catechism through the Lens of Ecology & the Earth. Pastor Molly edited and adapted them from the website http://www.lutheransrestoringcreation.org/