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Appreciatively Thinking about Lent and the Ten commandments

Posted: February 11, 2011 by Rob Voyle

Many years ago I was an altar boy and was given a devotional book to prepare myself to receive Holy communion. In the self-examination there was an expanded version of the Ten Commandments with long lists of potential sins I could have committed. Many of them were new to me and I had to look them up in a dictionary to make sure I understood what I should be trying hard not to do - and some of them were really weird and kinky and put strange ideas in my head.

Sadly telling me what sins to avoid didn't help me learn how to love others and seek justice in the world. It kept me a sinner, fearfully preoccupied with my own salvation rather than being concerned for either the temporal or eternal salvation of others.

Several years ago a coaching client was looking for a Lenten discipline and was considering taking two of the Commandments each week and reflecting on how he had failed to keep them. My suggestion to him was to take two commandments each week and reflect on how: keeping these commandments had been a blessing in his life and in the lives of those he loved. In the process he was also able to discover the things that had empowered him to keep the commandments and how to live them as a blessing.

In the Godly Play curriculum the Commandments are described as the "ten best ways to live." If our goal is to live the Commandments and not just keep them, then we need to reflect on how they are a blessing and what enables us to keep them rather than making them a fear based burden of obligation and discouragement devoid of any power or blessing.

Three Lenten Questions

* How has keeping this commandment been a blessing in my life and in the lives of my neighbors?
* What enabled me to keep the commandment?
* Where would I like, and what can I do, to grow this blessing?

Rob Voyle

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