“Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days.”

These lyrics, which are a musical petition to God found in a favorite hymn, “God of Grace, and God of Glory” have been running through my head of late as I watch TV news or log onto the computer.   There’s so much strife and division.  Name-calling abounds from the streets to the Capitol to the White House and beyond.  People who hold opinions and beliefs that are different neighbors near and far, are demonized.  People of races and religions are fearful of “the other.”

God, “grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days.”

How do we begin living wisely and courageously these days?    Scripture is a good start to my way of thinking.

What might we discover there?  We are reminded that from the beginning, God has commanded us to put no other gods before him.  He’s to be our #1 priority, not anyone or anything else.  He’s our Ruler.  Christ is the King of kings, and so his law is primary.

If God’s to be the priority, then our eyes should be focused on him.  There’s plenty to distract us these days—lots of voices that call us to live differently.  There are plenty of events and actions that attract our attention and consume our thoughts.  God, I believe, prays we won’t be distracted, but will remember him, his Word and his call to each of us.

Jesus helped us understand God’s priorities for living as his children when he boiled down the Ten Commandments to two, and told us that we’re to love God the most, and love our neighbors as ourselves.  All the laws and all the prophets hang on these two laws, he said.  If we broaden our view of scripture further, we see themes emerging from these foundational laws.  Themes that provide guidance as we try to figure out world situations like the one in which we live today.  The Rev. Dr. Craig Barnes, President of Princeton Theological Seminary, and a classmate of mine, wrote recently about some of these themes.

“A constant injunction throughout Scripture is to care for the foreigner, the marginalized, and the vulnerable in society.  The prophets of Israel held a vision of justice that extends not to a privileged few but to those most in need of its protection: the poor, the orphan, the widow, the immigrant. The prophets insisted that political leaders are vested with a responsibility to promote justice in the public realm, acting as agents of God’s own mercy, compassion, and righteousness. Likewise, Jesus calls his followers to welcome the stranger and to treat every person with dignity and compassion as God’s beloved child.”

God, “grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days.”

G0d has gifted each of us with talents, abilities, resources that he wants us to share with others they might come to know his love.  God enlists us as agents to help bring about his Kingdom on earth.  To us, that call may seem impossible to undertake individually or collectively, but it is possible with God’s help and direction.  Turning to God regularly in prayer, asking for insight to discern God’s call is a crucial step.  Answering God’s call is another.  Petitioning God to grant his wisdom and courage to love, is yet another step that allows us to see all God’s children—no matter who they are—as those we are called to care for, love and respect.

God, “grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days.”

Pastor Sharon