Solemnity Of Our Faith

As for you, always be sober (not drunk, serious, sensible, solemn), endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully. 2 Timothy 4:5-13

Since I can remember, for a long time, I’ve been guided by my emotions. In some situations it’s been very good and in others very destructive. It is quite possible I believe, to be drunk with strong feelings, to respond emotionally in ways that either create change on one hand and/or chaos on the other. The solemnity of our faith is not to be without emotion but rather to be able to distinguish the influence our emotions can have in creating that change and/or chaos. Various groups have adopted the serenity prayer in modified versions. I think today’s scripture warrants our attention to this original and untitled serenity prayer attributed to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, 1943.

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.
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Independence

As we approach the 4thof July I’d like to begin this week talking a bit about Independence. As a citizen, we don’t always take the time to understand what it really means to have independence.  According to the American Heritage dictionary, it has several similar meanings.  One definition of independence, which is my personal favorite, is having sufficient income to enable one to live without working.  Wouldn’t that be sweet?  Some of us enjoy this kind of independence from birth while the rest of us strive towards such independence in our older years.  A second definition means not to be governed by a foreign power.  This is probably what the forefathers of our nation had in mind when drafting the Declaration of Independence.  The repeated injuries and abuses by the King of Great Britain impelled the States to separate from the bonds of government, which subjected them to what they believed was absolute despotism.  Still, another definition is to be free from the influence, or control of others.  Was it not the hope of our parents before us, as it is for us as parents today, that our children grow to be free from the influence and control of others, particularly from those who purposely mislead and destruct? Although we are apart of an establishment, the government of the United States, we encourage our children to be leaders and independent thinkers.  While our constitution is not perfect, it does provide us opportunity (although perhaps not necessarily equal) to expect these inalienable rights that are deserving and the right of every human being. I say all this because I believe Independence Day is a great opportunity to compare the physical against the spiritual.