A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Meditation in Eastertide: Tuesday, Week 5: Sometimes a Little Kick Can Help

April 30, 2024 ~ Tuesday, Week 5

We should ask God to
increase our hope when it is small,
awaken it when it is dormant,
confirm it when it is wavering,
strengthen it when it is weak,
and raise it up when it is overthrown.
~ John Calvin*

      Well, God, I think I'm a pretty hopeful person. But as I think about it in this moment, I'm not always sure what I'm hopeful about. When I was young I was hopeful about a happy marriage and great kids, a successful career and lots of travel.  Some of it has happened.  Some of it went a very different way. There were times when things were so bleak I didn't care enough to even want to have hope. But then, through no action of my own, hope blossomed again.
      SO, what am I hopeful about now?  Mostly, I want to be hopeful even when hope by itself  doesn't change things. Of course I hope for the usual list: good health, healthy family and friends, world peace, ending hunger and violence, etc. But so much these days, well, I guess most of the time, is beyond my control and that takes me down a path of despair, or, at the very least feeling disheartened. 
     I want to and hope to be a better follower of Jesus, taking to heart, especially His commandment to love You and all my neighbors and myself. Some days are better than others with those. At the very least, I know that when life is painful and chaotic, I can pray for the desire to hope and for, as Reinhold Niehbuhr says in his prayer, the wisdom to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can**. And, when I am feeling hopeful, send a reminder for me to give thanks to You ~ an unexpected butterfly or a child’s smile, or the neighbor's dog who runs to me and licks my hand even with no treat in it! While I do know that You are always here, sometimes a little kick somewhere can help.  amen.


*John Calvin [1509-1564] was born in France and so would have been addressed by the French pronunciation of his name mostly lost to us over time, which is approximately Zhawn Cal-vawn. The ordained Calvin left the Roman Catholic Church and became a major player in the Protestant Reformation. His writings were contentious and he was influential in at least one execution. He and his contemporary, Martin Luther, had respect for one another early on though each had a differing theological view. There was a disagreement between Luther and a Reformer in Zurich, Huldrych Zwingli, over the interpretations regarding the Eucharist. Calvin's opinions on the matter caused Luther to equate Calvin with Zwingli. From those tempestuous beginnings, Calvin's theological perspective is seen as the major influence for the Reformed, Congregational, and Presbyterian churches throughout the world today. While not my favorite theologian, the lesson to be gleaned is that there is always something useful to be gleaned from reading and/or listening to someone with whom we disagree.


** Here is the full, original, unabridged Niebuhr text of the famous Serenity Prayer:  

God, give us 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.


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