Monday, March 30, 2020

Serenity in the Storm

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One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, 
“Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” 
So they put out, and while they were sailing he fell asleep. 
A windstorm swept down on the lake, 
and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. 
They went to him and woke him up, shouting, 
“Master, Master, we are perishing!” 
And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; 
they ceased, and there was a calm. 
 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” 
They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another,
 “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water,
 and they obey him?”

Luke 8: 22-25

Years ago I wrote a blog entry about imagining Jesus as our "Courage Coach", the one who reassures us when the storm picks up around us and it seems that our boat will capsize. I'm not sure why that that blog has come to mind now!

One of the respondents back then was a parishioner who is now in our circle of friends in retirement. She wrote about developing a fear of flying and was faced with the daunting prospect of a flight to New Zealand. She recited the Reinhold Niebuhr prayer, often called the Serenity Prayer, which the theologian wrote in the 1930's. Niebuhr used it in sermons and publications during the Second World War but it wasn't given a title until it became commonly used by Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1950's. 

Seinfeld on Twitter: ""Serenity Now! Serenity Now!" #Seinfeld http ...

Do you recall George's nutty father on Seinfeld who would angrily bellow "serenity now, serenity now!" ? I'm thinking we're seeking something at our core which is more authentic. 

Despite the daily grim news I choose to trust that our boat will not capsize, and that Christ is with us for both solace and strength. Although the Serenity Prayer has been lengthened and messed about by others, here is the original,  brief but powerful:

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.

Why would we bother observing Earth Hour during the dark days of COVID-19? My Groundling blog.


Lynnof60 said...

I think I recognize that parishioner! Thank you for reminding me David. Somehow a flight to New Zealand doesn’t seem as daunting now I say those words for the world.

Judy said...

Similar to that other prayer, "Lord,please give me patience - right now !"
I am not one who waits patiently for the good things - and this present world situation is difficult for me - I really want things to get back to normal, soon. Trying to see what I need to learn from this....

David Mundy said...

I wondered if you might read this and recall Lynn. It's encouraging that you can remember this clearly! Hey, it was 2012. February seems like a lifetime ago now. It's remarkable how our priorities and concerns have shifted dramatically in such a short period of time.

Patience does seem to be in shorter supply, Judy. I'm stunned to read of store clerks being verbally abused by those who have quickly become short-tempered and rude. In this "new normal" we can all pray for grace and patience in all our dealings.

Judy said...

I haven't seen any abuse of store clerks yet - only care from those clerks themselves... glad to see plexiglass shields added to check out areas in some stores, to protect workers.

roger said...

Just to jump in here....I haven't seen any rude clerks either, but unfortunately have seen some lineup rage among customers, including one entitled moron who felt he could just go straight to the front of the line. That was not a pretty sight.

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