Friday, March 27th, 2020
Spiritual Focus of the Day
by Keli Shipley Cooper

I love someone with an addiction. I have for a long time. Perhaps you do, too? Most of us have. Or perhaps you are addicted to something? Perhaps a lot of us are. 
 
Some of us have more time to spend with our thoughts than we used to. We may recognize that we are addicted to busyness and control. As a country, we may realize we are addicted to power and wealth. As a world, we may realize we mis-ordered our priorities, not caring equally for all.

In these uncertain times, we are forced to change our rhythm, if we had one before. We are responding, reacting, and adapting.
 
It is nerve-wracking. We're sent lists of do's and don'ts. We're advised to stay home; yet, some of us can't. We're advised to limit our physical distance to others; yet, some of us already did. How can we help?
 
You may be familiar with the  Serenity Prayer  accredited to the German pastor, Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1972): 
 
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change, 
courage to change the things I can, 
and the wisdom to know the difference. 
 
To the surprise of many friends, I had these four lines tattooed on my left forearm in 2014. I was and still am someone who struggles to know what is within and outside of my own control. I struggled with setting healthy boundaries. I needed to shift my focus towards my own well-being and learn more about the God of my own understanding, which is a lifelong process.
 
Having this prayer on my forearm has led to many unexpected conversations. Some folks reach into their pockets to show me their Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) chip, telling stories of their sobriety. Some share about their own experience with loved ones with addiction. Some have this prayer hanging on their kitchen wall. Others are still grasping for what "serenity" means .

This is a prayer that may be helpful in all times, especially in times like these.
 
I invite you to think through each line of the Serenity Prayer today:
 
What things can you not change? 
 
What does "courage" look like? 
 
What things can you change? 
 
What is "wisdom?" Think of someone who is wise- either someone you know, know of, or knew at some point in your life. What makes them wise? 
 
As you approach this weekend, even if you're uncertain what day of the week it is, I invite you to read this blessing** as a blessing for this day and the days to come:
 
"Life is short and we have too little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. So, be swift to love and make haste to be kind… and may the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you now and always. Amen." 

**accredited to Henri-Frederic Amiel
My name is  Keli Shipley Cooper  and I am the Minister for Faith Formation at St. Paul's. I look forward to sharing stories, readings, Scripture, and practices with you all in the coming weeks. In this time of physical distancing, we still join together through prayer and technology as we continue to be the church from at least six feet apart. 

We are glad that you are here.

I f you would like to respond to or discuss any piece of this devotion,
reply directly to this e-mail to connect with Keli Shipley Cooper.
To receive the "Spiritual Focus of the Day" e-mail each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday- click the subscribe button and choose the "Spiritual Focus of the Day" list.

Reminder of Online Opportunities

Check our website under the ChurchAway page for more information- this is where we will post the links to the online gatherings on the day of the study.

  • Morning Prayer on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.
  • Evening Prayer on Monday through Friday evenings at 6:00 p.m.
  • Spiritual Focus of the Day coordinated by Keli
  • An e-mail devotion sent every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  • These will also be posted on our Facebook page
  • Psalms Study with Charlie on Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 1st / Scripture for next week: Psalm 46
  • Lectionary-Based Gospel Study with Rainey on Thursdays at 11:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, April 2nd / Scripture for next week: Matthew 26:14-27:66