Dear St. Luke’s Community,

As I sit in my office and write this, the mercury is headed for 90 for (I believe) the first time so far this summer. I can’t help but marvel how easily I change my tune from one season to the next. It wasn’t a month ago that I was lamenting the fact that warm weather had been so elusive so far in 2007 here in Worcester. Today, I found my mind wandering to the coolness of the fall already. I have such a hard time being in what is sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with hoping for an improvement in our lives. Having said as much, I have a hard time remembering the weather is not in my sphere of influence. What’s the old saying? “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it!” As if we really could do something about it.

The weather is but one of the objects of a certain kind of magical thinking in my world from time to time. I have to admit finding myself concerned about ‘big issues’ while at the same time being unwilling to act in the small ways I can around me sometimes. There are many examples I could give, but here are two.

1. I decry the lack of Sabbath time in our lives. Weekends are full with all sorts of things, and yet I find myself available by phone and/or email almost all the time. Sometimes, despite my protestations to the contrary, I act as though I am indispensable. “For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15).

2. I am concerned about the fact that our culture preaches the ‘more is better’. I know that the scripture tells us that “where our treasure is, there our heart will be also” and yet, I have to admit that I really like my things. I’m trying to work on that but it’s a tough one for me.

Sometimes our deep concern about the big issues can be an excuse for not doing the things we can that are right before us with regards to our personal transformation. Let’s face it, worrying about the big, hard problems can be a way of getting out of doing anything.

There are times when I can grasp the deep faith in St. Francis’ dying words, “I have done what was mine to do”. What sort of world might we be able to create if we could all say that at our last? Better, I’m guessing. We all have something to do. May we all have the strength to do it, no matter how small it may appear. Many small acts, done faithfully, are what ultimately can change the world. I leave you with the following classic prayer by Reinhold Neihbur, an acclaimed 20th Century Theologian. Note, if you will, his prayer for temporal happiness is qualified, he prays only to be reasonably happy in this life. Oh that we could be so easily satisfied!

The Serenity Prayer

PathGod grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships 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.

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