Fresh Air

Like Moses in ancient times, today’s church leaders often get weary from members who gripe, complain, and murmur. As a result of the fussing, the church air can get thick and difficult to breath.

But many a church leader has experienced a sudden burst of fresh air right when it was needed most. Such was the case for me several weeks ago. It was during a week when I had listened to complaint after complaint from people who didn’t like one thing or another. These complainers were not interested in studying scripture, they just wanted to make sure I knew they were disgruntled.

And one evening when I was weary and finding it hard to breath, that fresh air came rushing in, allowing me to breath deeply once again. That evening a dear sister asked me if I would pray for her. When I asked her for a specific prayer request, she responded: “Please pray for me, that I may be a dispenser of God’s grace to all those around me, especially my peers.”

I went home that night, got on my knees, and asked God to forgive me.

This event (really a series of events) reminded me of an old, familiar prayer from Francis of Assisi written in the 13th century.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

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