Sr High UMYF Lent Lock-In
15 March 2002
This was a Ten Commandments Lenten Experience
  The Idea was looking at what the Ten Commandments require of us, especially in light of what Jesus said about them (like, if you hate you brother, you are a murderer, that kind of stuff)

It's kind of amazing to see how it is actually impossible to meet even this simple set of requirements.

Below are the Scripture references and extra questions we encountered in the candle-lit Sanctuary.
("Ouch!" says Heidi)


    As you pass from station to station, read the text of the Commandment, read the extra questions printed with it, and read the accompanying Scripture references.
    If you feel that these things are speaking to you, are weighing you down with guilt, take a book and put it in the bag you're carrying.  Think of the weight of that bag in relation to the text here at the entrance:

“He took note of all my sins and tied them all together;
He hung them around my neck, and I grew weak beneath the weight.”

Lamentations 1:14a

I  “You shall have no other gods before Me.” 
  Exodus 20:3

  • Have you ever loved any person or thing -  such as a hobby, possession, or dream - more than you've loved God? 
  • Have you ever let something or someone become more important than God?
Read: Matthew 4:10; 10:37
II  “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain,”
  Exodus 20:7

  • Have you ever cursed with God's name?
  • Have you ever carelessly used God's name
  • Have you ever used God's name or the Bible to support your own desires?
Read: Exodus 20:7; Jeremiah 23:31
III  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,”
  Exodus 20:8

  • Have you ever chosen not to worship with others?
  • Have you ever not wanted to hear and study God's Word?
Read: John 8:47; Hebrews 10:25
IV  “Honor your father and your mother,” 
  Exodus 20:12

  • Have you ever disobeyed your parents?
  • Have you ever not respected your parents
  • Have you ever made your parents angry?
Read: Colossians 3:201 Timothy 5:4
V  “You shall not murder,”
  Exodus 20:13

  • Have you ever done or said anything to destroy or hurt someone?
  • Have you ever hated someone?
Read: Romans 12:19; 1 John 3:15
VI  “You shall not commit adultery,”
  Exodus 20:14

  • Have you ever thought of a person as a sex object?
  • Have you ever had or wished to have sex before marriage?
  • Have you ever given in to sexual temptation?
Read: Matthew 5:28; 1 Peter 2:11
VII  “You shall not steal,”

Exodus 20:15

  • Have you ever taken something that wasn't yours?
  • Have you ever wanted to take something that wasn't yours?
Read: Psalm 37:21; Ephesians 4:28
VIII  “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,”

Exodus 20:16

  • Have you ever lied about someone?
  • Have you ever withheld the truth?
  • Have you ever broken a confidence?
  • Have you ever said or thought something evil about someone?
Read: Proverbs 11:13Zechariah 8:17
IX  “You shall not covet your neighbor's house,”

Exodus 20:17a

  • Have you ever wanted something that belonged to someone else so much that you tried to plot how to get it?
Read: Matthew 23:141 Timothy 6:8-10
X  “You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's,”

Exodus 20:17b

  • Have you ever been jealous of other people's relationships?
  • Have you ever wished those relationships weren't so good?
Read: Romans 7:7; James 1:14-15
But on the altar table was this verse:
“Christ Himself carried our sins in His body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness.  It is by His wounds that you have been healed.”
1 Peter 2:24

Then we had a closing to that weighty experience which let us lay our burdens at the Saviour's feet, for "surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows."

Read: 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 8:10

After releasing those burdens, we heard the story of the Ragman

The Ragman
by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

    I saw a strange sight. I stumbled upon a story most strange, like nothing my life, my street sense, my sly tongue had ever prepared me for.
    Hush, child. Hush, now, and I will tell it to you.

    Even before the dawn one Friday morning I noticed a young man, handsome and strong, walking the alleys of our City. He was pulling an old cart filled with clothes both bright and new, and he was calling in a clear, tenor voice: "Rags!"
    "Now this is a wonder," I thought to myself, for the man stood six-feet-four, and his arms were like tree limbs, hard and muscular, and his eyes flashed intelligence. Could he find no better job than this, to be a ragman in the inner city?
    I followed him. My curiosity drove me. And I wasn't disappointed.

    Soon the Ragman saw a woman sitting on her back porch. She was sobbing into a handkerchief, sighing, and shedding a thousand tears. Her knees and elbows made a sad X. Her shoulders shook. Her heart was breaking.
    The Ragman stopped his cart. Quietly, he walked to the woman, stepping round tin cans, dead toys, and Pampers.
    "Give me your rag," he said so gently, "and I'll give you another."
    He slipped the handkerchief from her eyes. She looked up, and he laid across her palm a linen cloth so clean and new that it shined. She blinked from the gift to the giver.
    Then, as he began to pull his cart again, the Ragman did a strange thing: he began to weep, to sob as grievously as she had done, his shoulders shaking. Yet she was without a tear.

    "This is a wonder," I breathed to myself, and I followed the sobbing Ragman like a child who cannot turn away from mystery.
    "Rags! Rags! New rags for old!"

    In a little while, when the sky showed grey behind the rooftops and I could see the shredded curtains hanging out black windows, the Ragman came upon a girl whose head was wrapped in a bandage, whose eyes were empty. Blood soaked her bandage. A single line of blood ran down her cheek.
    Now the tall Ragman looked upon this child with pity, and he drew a lovely yellow bonnet from his cart.
    "Give me your rag," he said, tracing his own line on her cheek, "and I'll give you mine."
    The child could only gaze at him while he loosened the bandage, removed it, and tied it to his own head. The bonnet he set on hers. And I gasped at what I saw: for with the bandage went the wound! Against his brow it ran a darker, more substantial blood - his own!
    "Rags! Rags! I take old rags!" cried the sobbing, bleeding, strong, intelligent Ragman.
    The sun hurt both the sky, now, and my eyes; the Ragman seemed more and
more to hurry.

    "Are you going to work?" he asked a man who leaned against a telephone pole. The man shook his head.
    The Ragman pressed him: "Do you have a job?"
    "Are you crazy?" sneered the other. He pulled away from the pole, revealing the right sleeve of his jacket - flat, the cuff stuffed into the pocket. He had no arm.
    "So," said the Ragman, "give me your jacket, and I'll give you mine."
    Such quiet authority in his voice!
    The one-armed man took off his jacket. So did the Ragman - and I trembled at what I saw: for the Ragman's arm stayed in its sleeve, and when the other put it on he had two good arms, thick as tree limbs; but the Ragman had only one.
    "Go to work," he said.

    After that he found a drunk, lying unconscious beneath an army blanket, an old man, hunched, wizened, and sick. He took that blanket and wrapped it round himself, but for the drunk he left new clothes.
    And now I had to run to keep up with the Ragman. Though he was weeping uncontrollably, and bleeding freely at the forehead, pulling his cart with one arm, stumbling for drunkenness, falling again and again, exhausted, old, old, and sick, yet he went with terrible speed. On spider's legs he skittered through the alley of the City,  this mile and the next, until he came to its limits, and then he rushed beyond.
    I wept to see the change in this man. I hurt to see his sorrow. And yet I needed to see where he was going in such haste, perhaps to know what drove him so.
    The little old Ragman - he came to a landfill. He came to the garbage pits. And then I wanted to help him in what he did, but I hung back, hiding. He climbed a hill. With tormented labor he cleared a little space on that hill. Then he sighed. He lay down. He pillowed his head on a handkerchief and a jacket. He covered his bones with an army blanket. And he died.

    Oh, how I cried to witness that death! I slumped in a junked car and wailed and mourned as one who has no hope - because I had come to love the Ragman. Every other face had faded in the wonder of this man, and I cherished him; but he died. I sobbed myself to sleep.
    I did not know - how could I know?  - that I slept through Friday night and Saturday and its night, too.

    But then, on Sunday morning, I was wakened by a violence.

    Light - pure, hard, demanding light - slammed against my sour face, and I blinked, and I looked, and I saw the last and the first wonder of all. There was the Ragman, folding the blanket most carefully, a scar on his forehead, but alive! And, besides that, healthy! There was no sign of sorrow nor of age, and all the rags that he had gathered shined for cleanliness.
    Well, then I lowered my head and, trembling for all that I had seen, I myself walked up to the Ragman. I told him my name with shame, for I was a sorry figure next to him. Then I took off all my clothes in that place, and I said to him with dear yearning in my voice: "Dress me."

    He dressed me. My Lord, he put new rags on me, and I am a wonder beside him. 
The Ragman, the Ragman, the Christ!
Updated: 10 April 2002