The 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Many of us are familiar with the Serenity 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.

But perhaps most of us are not aware of the rest of the verses:

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.

This prayer was penned by Reinhold Niebuhr. He was an American theologian, ethicist, intellectual, commentator on politics and public affairs, and professor at Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University. A powerful speaker, he was one of the most influential thinkers of the 1940s and 1950s in public affairs.

  • Niebuhr was optimistic and hopeful yet,
  • He was not pollyannish. He was realistic. He would be one to say, “Get engaged in the process of life.”

Why is this important? Few reasons:

  1. Radical skepticism of contemporary society.
  2. Loss of sense of transcendent
  3. Loss of vision of JFK (“Ask not what your country can do for you…..”)
  4. Pervasiveness of the information age, the “air that you breathe today.”

The evil one, the news, talk radio, millennialists all want you to believe that “the end is nigh” Don’t believe them, be at peace and be ready.

Like Niebuhr I don’t want to be pollyannish. College can be a time of tremendous anxiety. Financial, social, sexual, academic, issues surrounding your family, health, religion and spirituality… But the scriptures point to looking beyond the present and the past to a transformational and redeemed future.

Philippians 4:6-7 PRAYER - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:34 FOCUS “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

John 16:33 CONFESSION - I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Matthew 6:27 GUIDANCE - And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

In closing, we look to the scripture passage Psalm 46:1-10 -

Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging, we will not fear. Because God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

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