It is as though it is in the air, like a fire in the distance only you can’t smell it and the smoke isn’t visible. But it is there somewhere, nameless and unrecognizable making its way into the fray of life in the 21st century. “It” is the negative, the crankiness, the need to be critical of the efforts of others without a willingness to help lighten the load. “It” is to honor God with our lips, sometimes, but mostly our hearts are far from God.
Perhaps it isn’t a new phenomenon nor is it necessarily all bad. I found a prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr who died in 1971 so some of what was on his heart is at the very least fifty years old and is still fitting today. The language of course is not gender neutral, but still it sounds similar to the world we are struggling in these days. Here is a portion of it:
“We pray to you this day mindful of the sorry confusion of our world. Look with mercy upon this generation of your children so steeped in misery of their own contriving, so far strayed from your ways and so blinded by passions…We pray for wicked and cruel men, whose arrogance reveals to us what the sin of our own hearts is like when it has conceived and brought forth its final fruit. O God, who resists the proud and gives grace to the humble, bring down the mighty from their seats.
We pray for ourselves who live in peace and quietness, that we may not regard our good fortune as proof of our virtue, or rest content to have our ease at the price of other men’s sorrow and tribulation.
We pray for all who have some vision of your will, despite the confusions and betrayals of human sin, that they humbly and resolutely plan for and fashion the foundations of a just peace between men, even while they seek to preserve what is fair and just among us against the threat of malignant power.
Grant us grace to see what we can do, but also to know what are the limits of our powers, so that courage may feed on trust in you, who are able to rule and overrule the angry passions of men and make the wrath of men to praise you. Amen.”
As we prepare to turn the page on the calendar to a new month in a new season lets work on seeking out the positive and making our exchanges with others be loving, supportive and encouraging. “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.” [Romans 12:2 The Message translation]
May the crisp Autumn mornings refresh your souls and minds and lead you to be blessings to others.