The Serenity Prayer in a National Crisis

Sunday I asked you to join with me and pray the Serenity Prayer in 2021. The prayer goes like this:


God, grant me the 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.


How do we apply this prayer to the horrible events unfolding in Washington DC today? These are my thoughts. I don’t accept with serenity a coup attempt against my democratically elected government. I condemn it. I condemn the President’s lies that have incited the more gullible and paranoid among us to storm the Capitol today.


I do accept with serenity that I cannot clear the Capitol of the rioters. That task falls to other people, and I am praying for them as they execute this difficult and necessary task.


What am I going to change? I’m going to make a few small changes in my routine today. I’m going to sign off from social media. I’m not going to stare at the TV screen, mesmerized. A lot of initial reports turn out to be false. By staying away from the phone and the TV I hope to stay a little less anxious and a little less mis-informed.


I am going to pray a good bit. I am going to pray for the safety of everyone on Capitol Hill. If you’re a member of First Presbyterian Church I ask you especially to pray for senator Blunt and his staff. As you know, his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren are members of First Presbyterian. Also, I’m going to email my elected officials, from my city councilperson on up, and ask them to issue a strong statement acknowledging the legitimacy of our electoral process and their support for democracy and the rule of law.


A few things I’m not going to change. I’m going to take a walk, as I do most days, to spend some time in God’s creation and with my wife. I’m going to attend the Mission Team Meeting tonight because First Presbyterian Church continues to make a difference in the lives of people, even during a ham-fisted coup attempt, even in a pandemic.


What does praying the Serenity Prayer mean to you today? Let me know: MarvinL@fpccolumbia.org.


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