One of the 15 Commandments
May 02, 2021
Ray D'Ambrosio

I am, and for many years have been, a fan of Mel Brooks movies. I feel that we need occasional doses of unbridled silliness in our lives to provide some emotional protection from the doom and gloom that we see plenty of. While some of his comedy hasn’t aged well, some of it is (in my humble opinion) timeless. My favorite movie of the lot is “History of the World Part 1”, where in 90 minutes Brooks summarizes the process of human civilization from the dawn of human intelligence to the French Revolution.

In the midst of this, one short sketch shows Brooks, dressed as Moses, coming down from the mountain carrying THREE stone tablets. He says “my people, the Lord Jehovah has given unto you these FIFTEEN…(he drops and destroys one tablet) UY. TEN! TEN Commandments for all to obey”. Cracks me up every time.

Over many years of teaching Sunday school, I’ve brought up this scene several times, and asked my student-friends a question: If there were actually 15 commandments instead of ten, what do you imagine the other five would be?

As you can imagine I’ve heard many suggestions over the years. One topic, however, that seems to come up every time is caring for the Earth. While God gave it to us in Genesis, and said in 2:15 "The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.", for some reason that didn’t make it into the Commandments. A moment for a needless disclaimer: I have no authority to write commandments. That said, I trust and pray that the Lord won’t smite me for suggesting the wording for one:

Thou shalt care for the land, sea and sky and all the creatures who live there: Reap only as you must, restore what you consume.

So, pretending for a moment that this makes the list as one of the 15, now what? I suggest the following:

Reap only as you must
  • Save energy. Energy you don’t use takes nothing from the earth.
  • Eat less meat.
  • Use reusable alternatives.
  • Go paperless.
  • Use renewable energy.
  • Recycle and reuse.
Restore what you consume
  • Grow your own produce. ...
  • Donate unused items.
  • VOTE for the preservation of natural spaces
  • VOTE for the large-scale restoration of ecosystems
  • VOTE for reductions in fossil fuel infrastructure, replaced with renewable energy infrastructure

I will leave suggestions for the other four imaginary commandments to you.

Have a good day.

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