Rector's Update

By Barry Parker, Rector (Senior Pastor)

Posted on July 27, 2017

We are in the dog days of summer. Many members of the St. Paul’s community are having a chance to take some vacation time. Some are travelling and younger members are at summer camps of various kinds.

Through these summer months, St. Paul’s is not on vacation. We are welcoming visitors from around the world, as well as new folks who are in search of a spiritual home. The summer sermon series, based on the biblical stories embedded in our beautiful stained-glass windows, has resonated deeply with many. It is a full summer for all of us and I am grateful for all who serve both our faith community, and the communities in which we live.

I notice that as a nation, we are also engaging in Canada’s true national sport—complaining about the weather. Whether it is too wet or too dry, too hot or too cold, we have a habit of complaining about something over which we have no control. Even the tragic effects of unstable summer weather, such as the wildfires in British Columbia, remind us that there are forces and events over which we have no authority.

Even in the beautiful days of summer, many of us have experienced personal events over which we have no control. Struggles in life and the inherent challenges do not take a summer vacation.

We hear from many folks that one of the characteristics they value most about St. Paul’s Bloor Street is that hope is ever-present, a part of life no matter the events or experiences we encounter. That divinely inspired hope is crucial for all of us. With hope, we are more than survivors.

Many of us know the Serenity Prayer, written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971). The best-known form is: “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.”

There is a longer version as well:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which should be changed,
And the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right, if I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

No matter what you are up to this summer, I encourage you to take up this prayer and make it a part of your daily life. I pray you will find an inner serenity that refreshes you in mind, body and spirit. Have a great summer!