A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 31: Give Up, Take On, Pray

         [There are those activities that] we use...for a kind of pleasure which can be called "fun." But it is not the creative kind of fun often connected with play; it is, rather, a shallow, distracting, greedy way of "having fun." And it is not by chance that it is that type of fun which can easily be commercialized, for it is dependent on calculable reactions, without passion, without risk, without love. Of all the dangers that threaten our civilization, this is one of the most dangerous ones: the escape from one’s emptiness through a "fun" which makes joy impossible.  ~ Paul Tillich* 1886-1965

What kinds of things do you do "for fun" or that you find relaxing or a simple pleasure? 
Photography, playing a musical instrument, bird watching, dancing, reading,
video games, playing the slots, watching television...   
When does fun turn into idle play or idle play into an addiction?
When is "entertainment" at the expense of or in exploitation of others
(however well they are being paid)?
Do your fun times improve your life financially, enhance a relationship, or your health?

Dear God of Free Time ~
         What should I do when my time is my own - is there a right way or a wrong way to do "fun"? Does everything I do in life have to be filled with usefulness and meaning?  Sometimes I just want to sit and veg-out in front of the tv, sometimes I want to run on the beach, learn to paint, or sing in the car. Sometimes I want to write the perfect sonnet or cook the most sumptuous meal for friends. I don't want to be responsible for saving civilization.
         Well, then let me think this through.  For today, I'll give up some of the empty time of mindless "entertainment".  I'll take on some mindful relaxation that will give me a positive outlook on life.  I'll pray to keep idle play from becoming idol play. I'll keep trying to remember that You are present in every moment of my day and only through You can I experience the joy that this life has to offer.  amen.

*Paul Tillich is considered as one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century, and Christian Existentialist Philosopher.  His seminal work is a three-volume series on Systematic Theology, which is his most widely known writing though there are many others.  A German-born Lutheran pastor, Tillich came into conflict at the rise of Nazi power and was encouraged by Reinhold Niebuhr [see Prayers for Lent Day 23] to join the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in New York. He later became one of the Five highest ranking Professors at Harvard University and later a professor of theology at the University of Chicago.  His strong influence continues in the world of academic philosophy and theology with its critics and apologists - a legacy that will survive for a very long time to come. 

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