Tag Archives: depressing

Almost-Ten Commandments, Redux?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April 24, 2015

Ten Commandments medieval illustration Exodus 20

Almost-Ten Commandments, Redux?

I learned the Ten Commandments as a girl, in both Sunday school and Confirmation class. (Pastor Wold was very thorough, as I remember.) I also remember the Ten Commandments etched into two large tablets made of polished wood, in the Sunday school office. (I never asked at the time, but I suspect the two pieces of wood with etchings were made as a special wood working project by some enterprising young Boy Scout, to fulfill the requirements for a badge or for achieving the next level in scouting.)

Dutifully, I learned the Ten Commandments. And then, after Confirmation, forgot them. More or less. That is, until several courses in bible college. I revisited them, and was very glad I had had thorough teaching in Confirmation class before being confirmed as a Lutheran.

I remember having the sneaking feeling that the Ten Commandments, as written in Exodus, had a definitely negative twist. Except for “honor your father and mother,” all of them had a negative cast. Telling everyone what they were NOT supposed to do! So depressing. So sad-making. So much like someone wagging their finger in my face. (Which gets my back up in the best of times.)

I suppose that is why I much prefer this reiteration in Leviticus (of the spirit) of the Ten Commandments.

Here in Leviticus, the commandments are shaped in a much more positive manner. If I had grown up with these, instead, I wonder how closely I would have followed the commands? And, by extension, would other people get drawn to these positive, nurturing ideas? I guess I will never know. For sure, that is. But—I can dream, can’t I?

Let’s come to God in prayer. Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You so much for such an encouraging reading today. And, Lord, help me to show others Your love, just as each one is trying to show God as the next Big Thing. Dear God, I earnestly pray, Amen.

@chaplaineliza

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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Prayer Lessons from Improv? Yup.

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, May 12, 2014

baby and butterfly

Prayer Lessons from Improv? Yup.

Yes, it’s so easy to get all pessimistic and full of doubt. Show (or even think) lack of faith. I know, I know. You don’t need to tell me. Especially when things are rough and the going gets even harder, doubt and lack of faith loom large. That can happen to almost anyone, especially when bad, sad, or complex things get piled up. All on top of each other. Crushing people with their heavy, depressing, anxiety-ridden load.

I’ve been thinking about doubt and lack of faith. (On my other blog, A Year of Being Kind, I even wrote a post about doubt yesterday. http://wp.me/p4cOf8-8Z ) A shortcut way of description is pessimism, in a single word. I don’t care whether we call it doubt, lack of faith, pessimism, or some fancy, clinical-sounding, psychological term. But—what could I do about these big-downer, depressing thoughts?

I hadn’t even gone so far as to formulate a proper prayer about doubt and lack of faith when I was reminded of my two-year experience doing comedy improv here in Chicago, in the 1990’s. My first teacher, Charna, pounded into our heads the saying, “Never ‘No, but . . .’ Always ‘Yes, and . . !'” If, in improv, I say “No, but . . . ” in a sketch, I’m putting on the breaks. Stop! Hold it! <sound of car brakes screeching> The sketch runs out of gas, FAST! However, if I say “Yes, and . . . ” then the sketch gains momentum! It has the potential to go to further, greater heights. Being positive and moving forward helps everything.

I think you get where I’m going. This “Yes, and!” principle applies to everything! Even though I tend to be world-weary and pessimistic now, after several decades on this imperfect world, I still pray for God to make me a “Yes, and!” kind of person. Won’t you?

Let’s pray. Dear God, God of comedy, tragedy, and every other part of life, thank You for comedy and the ability to laugh. Thank You for Your promise to be with us even when we cry, or are lonely, or are feeling crushed by the weight of so much, too many things. Help us—help me to be a “Yes, and!” kind of person, positive, not pessimistic. Help us to get on board with You and go along wherever the journey takes us. Thank You for being with us, no matter what. In Your powerful, positive, life-giving name we pray, Amen!

@chaplaineliza

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net