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I ran across this video in my inbox tonight after giving a talk to my Disciples of Christ in Community group on Love and working for the Kingdom of God.  I thought it appropriate. We were talking about Loving the way God loves as a means of pointing toward the new Creation that God is longing to bring upon the world this Christmas as has been the case for these last 2000 years and more.

May we dare stand by one another regardless of nationality, race, gender, sexual preference.  God has called us to the work of building a just Kingdom alongside the Divine and with all the people of the world.  Enjoy and stand by someone and ask them to stand by you and sing the same song to the world.

May there be peace on earth and may it begin with me standing with you.

—Warren

I’m more hopeful about politics than I’ve been in a long time.  I pray that hope grow into fruitful dialogue.

My prayer is that this hope can be rewarded with a substantive discourse on ideas and not devolve into the politics of name-calling and fear.  I want to say up front that I mean that in both directions, both the left and the right.

Two snippets give me hope (maybe I’m just looking for a half-full glass).

  • Barack Obama’s description of John McCain as ‘a good man’ when talking about his impending nomination as the Republican Presidential Candidate
  • John McCain’s congratulatory message to the Illinois Senator the day following Obama’s nomination

I believe that regardless of our politics, we as people of faith should really pray for, to borrow from the Apostle Paul, “a more excellent way” to emerge as part of this important time in our country and for the life of the world as God’s creation.

To that end I am going to commit myself to praying for God to sustain all of the candidates and not just ‘my’ candidate.  Will you join me in a commitment to such a prayer discipline?

In closing I offer this from the Book of Common Prayer as template for such a discipline.

Almighty God, giver of all good things:
We thank you for the natural majesty and beauty of this land.
They restore us, though we often destroy them.
Heal us.
We thank you for the great resources of this nation. They
make us rich, though we often exploit them.
Forgive us.
We thank you for the men and women who have made this
country strong. They are models for us, though we often fall
short of them.
Inspire us.
We thank you for the torch of liberty which has been lit in
this land. It has drawn people from every nation, though we
have often hidden from its light.
Enlighten us.
We thank you for the faith we have inherited in all its rich
variety. It sustains our life, though we have been faithless
again and again.
Renew us.
Help us, O Lord, to finish the good work here begun.
Strengthen our efforts to blot out ignorance and prejudice,
and to abolish poverty and crime. And hasten the day when
all our people, with many voices in one united chorus, will
glorify your holy Name. Amen.

I listen to NPR every morning while I make coffee (for my wife) and tea (for myself).  I don’t drink as much coffee as I used to, partially because of the havoc it wreaks on my stomach and my blood pressure.  This morning while I was fixin’ caffeine (in both kinds) a story about meditation and blood pressure came on (Meditation vs. Medication).  There is much to recommend this story to all of us but in particular I was grabbed by the following line:

Sometimes, realizing that you’re not in control can make you more effective in matters where you do have control.

The specific context here was in talking to a man who was learning to attend to his breathing and anxiety as he drove instead of his mind racing to things he couldn’t control–traffic, other drivers, cell phone reception, etc.

You know of course that’s the essence of a prayer that has become the mantra for 12 step groups across the world.  It’s has come to be called the Serenity Prayer, but was written, and left untitled by 20th Century Theologian Reihold Neibuhr in 1943.  It’s about action, control it’s also about stillness and surrender.  In short it’s about seeking after God’s will and the courage to do it as we are able.  Here’s the full text of the 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.
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.

I love the last part..where he asks only for to be ‘reasonably happy in this life’.  Seeking the will of God is more about the state of the world than my ultimate happiness in this life..that’s for another season of our lives with God.

May we all have the grace to let go of the illusion of control long enough to be reasonably happy today and work for the redemption of the world and the relative happiness of the whole of creation.

When you’re frustrated today–and I trust it’s a question of when, not if–I hope you can take a deep breath, meditate as you know how to do and just accept the world as it is, knowing that its transformation is God’s work and we are invited to participate in that and are not ultimately responsible for making it so.

To quote the title of the NPR story, may we have the grace to just say ‘OM’ (or a reasonable equivalent, a holy word reminding us of the Peace of God).

Be careful out there, we want to see you again!!!

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