Dear Christ Church Friends,
We are all familiar with what is called “the Serenity Prayer”
God grant me the serenity,
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Written by Reinhold Niehbur, an American theologian and ethicist, the Serenity Prayer can be found on many greeting cards and wall hangings. But did you know that there is more to the prayer? The prayer ends with these lines:
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.
Powerful, isn’t it? We live in a world that once again feels sinful and with daily attacks on our ability to feel safe–whether it be financially, socially, emotionally or physically. Niehbur’s prayer was written as a sort of protest to utopian thinking. Rather than bemoaning that the world wasn’t perfect, Niehbur preached a theology of realism–this is how things are. And a theology of tough hopefulness — accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.
Although we do not need to accept all things as Niehbur did, knowing that we have a God who asks us only to trust and then, from that trust, be willing to forge on, is a comforting thought.
May God grant us all a form of serenity as we await the coming of Christ, to accept those things we cannot change, and to have the will, courage and wisdom to work and fight for those things we can change in the world about us.
Blessings and love,