Grant us wisdom, grant us courage

Peaceable Kingdom (Edward Hicks, 1780-1849)

Today is the 10th anniversary of the tragic day that all of us over the age sixteen will remember for the rest of our lives. I have avoided (as much as possible) all the television coverage and visual reminders replaying those moments over and over again. The individual postings of friends and family on Facebook to “Never forget,” “These colors don’t run,” and “Do you remember where you were when . . .” have filled my screen – so I am avoiding Facebook today too (for the most part).

This morning we attended services at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wilton as we would any Sunday we are in town. It was a Sunday when many have come back to church following summer vacations as school has now started. Christian education programs will begin next Sunday, so all were worshipping together today.

Our rector, Mary Grace Williams gave a homily directed to the children, although we all know that adults glean just as much out of these moments as the kids do. I watched some of the younger ones watch her, and nod that they didn’t remember what had happened, let along had been born yet. She spoke of sadness and hope, not having an answer, yet having a place to go when things are beyond our understanding. Family, friends, and our church communities.

It is in such communities that we need to be fed and nurtured to put on the true “armor of God” as Paul states. Not putting on weapons for war or defense, but “weapons” of hope and love that will ultimately conquer all. Lighting candles, the words in one verse of a hymn we sang (by James Quinn) told me what we are to be about:

Where all is doubt, may we sow faith; where all is gloom, may we sow hope; where all is night, may we sow light; where all are tears, may we sow joy. 

Those of you who did go to church today probably noticed how applicable our readings were. I’ve already blogged about that on Building Faith and The Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education‘s blog page. Today our prayers and music also expressed our sense of remembrance, but gratefully more about looking to the future, hope, and the sense of God with us at all times, all places, and under all circumstances.

I have several plaques and icons in my office here at home of St. Francis. Together we said the prayer attributed to St. Francis:

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

The Hymnal 1982 was easily left open to two hymns about Christian Responsibility – #593 (Lord, make us servants of your peace of which one of the stanzas is found above) and #594 (God of grace and God of glory). Both are messages to hold onto for today.

God of grace and God of glory, on they people pour thy power; crown thine ancient Church’s story; bring her bud to glorious flower. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour, for the facing of this hour.

Lo! the hosts of evil round us scorn thy Christ, assail his ways! From the fears that long have bound us free our hearts to faith and praise: grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days, for the living of these days.

Cure thy children’s warring madness, bend our pride to thy control; shame our wanton, selfish gladness, rich in things and poor in soul. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, lest we miss thy kingdom’s goal, lest we miss they kingdom’s goal.

Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore; let the gift of thy salvation be our glory evermore. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, serving thee whom we adore, serving thee whom we adore. 

For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

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