Preachers, let us pray about the Ten Commandments.
10) Thou shalt not covet.
O, Lord, forgive me. I hear about the big church my friend has, the budget for continuing education, the staff that works well together, the supportive lay leaders – and I wonder, why not me? Why am I struggling here? What do you want from me? I wonder why I didn’t go into real estate, or teaching, or truck driving. I wonder why I didn’t go to law school. I was smart enough, and I’m a better person than most of those…no, I have to stop it. I will not covet. I will try not to covet. Help me.
9) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Maybe it’s not all so perfect for those other pastors. I pray for them, too.
8) Thou shalt not steal.
Every week I struggle to find the right words to say, and I wonder if my words are good enough, and I’m not exactly tempted to take anyone else’s words, but sometimes it’s hard to know if a thought was mine or something I heard or read somewhere. Help me to have clear boundaries in the work of my mind.
7) Thou shalt not commit adultery.
I hope you don’t expect me to preach that one. People prefer to keep these things quiet and not have the preacher discussing sex from the pulpit. They would rather forgive preemptively than examine themselves. Okay. We would. Help me to have clear boundaries in the life of my heart and to keep my commitments to others.
6) Thou shalt not kill.
Even at coffee hour. I’m on board with this one.
5) Honour thy father and thy mother.
My father and mother have long since gone to be with you, Lord. I hope the way I live gives credit to the way they raised me and honors you, too. Help me to honor their good intentions but not fall into family patterns that separate me from you.
4) Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
When I have finished creating and leading worship with the purpose of bringing people closer to you in their Sabbath observance, help me remember that I, too, need to check out from the daily responsibilities and check in with you.
3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Shoot. Rats. Okay. Trying.
2) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
No Apple products or Ford trucks or new refrigerators with ice through the door or blogging awards or publishing contracts or famous athletes or movie stars or even other pastors we have admired, whose lives we may have coveted (see above). No false idols, no matter how winsomely they use their words. None.
1) Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
I give my life to you, to serve and love your people, to tell the stories that show your love and the stories that lay down the law, and to find the ways they are one and the same. Be with me this Sunday, and every Sunday, I ask in Christ’s name. Amen.