Grant us Courage

It’s been a difficult week here in Lampeter. We had the tragic news that a student in our year had died, friends of mine are enduring trips to hospital and others are dealing with recent losses and hardships, and after thanking God that Obama was re-elected giving hope and encouragement for the true freedom of America, those of us in Britain have had to deal with the incredible shock and pain of the Church of England rejecting the passing of women bishops.

There’s certainly been a lot for me and my friends in Lampeter to think about this month. Are we going to have a free Church? Are we going to have a free world? Are all people going to recognise each other as loved and beautiful or will it be a never-ending battle? Will there always be rejection and exclusion?

And so this week we’ve prayed for the courage to keep faith, to believe in humanity. To believe that the Church can be better. And if I get ordained then I hope that I will make it better. Whatever the Synod might have said that got women bishops rejected, before the Synod 43 of 44 dioceses had approved their ordination, so the system has got to change and things must get better my friends. And I hope that if when this gets sorted we’ll be on our way to legalising the love between same-sex couples in a marriage service in our churches.

I know a great many of you are in pain at the recent Synod decision, and in pain from numerous other experiences you are facing. But when you feel God is distant and when you lose faith in the human race, remember that there are people passionately seeking equality that love you, and God who died in agony on a cross for his vision of peace is there, however distant he/she may seem sometimes.

And as much as your head and heart might seem full of burdens, remember that you need to give yourself time to let them go. Grieve and worry, but live in the present too. Let the grief and worry not just be sources of pain but reminders of the value of life. Allow yourself to rest, for “there are some things that can be accomplished, even by God, only in a state of rest” (Eugene Peterson).

There is pain, but there is also beauty. Have hope my friends. I love you.

And now to put a nice big smile on your face, watch this 30 second clip of a very adorable dog getting confused by a toy penguin…

God of grace and God of glory,
On Thy people pour Thy power.
Crown Thine ancient church’s story,
Bring her bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
For the facing of this hour,
For the facing of this hour.

Lo! the hosts of evil ’round us,
Scorn Thy Christ, assail His ways.
From the fears that long have bound us,
Free our hearts to faith and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
For the living of these days,
For the living of these days.

Cure Thy children’s warring madness,
Bend our pride to Thy control.
Shame our wanton selfish gladness,
Rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal.

Set our feet on lofty places,
Gird our lives that they may be,
Armored with all Christ-like graces,
In the fight to set men free.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
That we fail not man nor Thee,
That we fail not man nor Thee.

Save us from weak resignation,
To the evils we deplore.
Let the search for Thy salvation,
Be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Serving Thee Whom we adore,
Serving Thee Whom we adore.

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