Daily Reflection
May 25th, 2008

Mike Cherney

Physics Department
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Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

I find myself humbled by today’s readings. They focus on trust. They ask us to put aside our fears. I ask myself how well can I do this. The answer is not clear.

The reading from Isaiah is better understood in its context. The passage for today follows an awareness of being called from before one’s birth. It holds out a promise for the chosen. The reading itself shows a complacent people, a people who lack trust. We are reassured that we will not be forgotten.

The psalm is a song of trust. The psalmist is at peace having experienced God’s saving power in the world. His experience compels him to speak out.

In the reading from Paul we again examine trust. Paul reminds us of the dangers of judging from our limited perspective. Paul is setting the stage to argue against complacency.

The Gospel provides with one of the great passages on trust from the New Testament. We are asked to be like the lilies of the field. We are called to be detached from the things of this world and to trust in Divine Providence.

This was my mother’s philosophy of life. There was a reason for everything. We may not understand it in the moment, but there is an order and we only need to trust.

My oldest son is much the same way. He has still not finalized what he is doing this summer. He knows it will be for the greater good, he is not worried, and he is confident that it will all fall into place.

When I was his age I was much the same way. Today I am a planner and a worrier. I have lived through times in my life when my trust was not warranted. It is hard to heal from those times.

My life is challenged with the concerns of the world. My calendar is well defined. Today I am in Sweden. I do not have issues when it is all going as clockwork.

Like the Israelites I become complacent when things do not meet my expectations, but I do not let those moments overwhelm me.

Here is where I wonder if I am on the right track. I have created my own definition of “trust”. I am certainly not functioning like the wild flowers. If I was a wild flower, I would be worrying and planning about how we can stay protected from the late frost or some other disaster. Ultimately I have a sense that I will end up where I should be, but I feel called to be proactive in forming this world. I am not sure that is the sense of today’s readings.

Today my prayer is for trust. I pray for the wisdom to know where my efforts are well invested. I pray for the grace to liberate myself from the areas where they are not. I pray for the ability to trust and be at peace with the things that are beyond my control. I am left with challenge of Niebuhr’s 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. 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.

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