From an ethics perspective, 2012 was a difficult year. Our national rhetoric about issues that matter has taken a particularly nasty tone. It seems that on all sides in the culture wars: left, right, and center, people are in the habit of questioning the moral integrity of one another, simply for holding a different opinion than their own. And in spite of our many words, little changes, and we are discouraged. I think we often forget Who ultimately is sovereign over this fallen world.
But in 2013, I must deal with my own spirit. Recently, an Anglican pastor friend shared this magnificent meditation with me, written by a Roman Catholic priest and martyr. This is my prayer for the New Year:
A Prayer of Oscar Romero
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders;
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future that is not our own. Amen.
With Father Romero, I pray for renewed vision for 2013, and ask this for each of you as well. May our mighty Heavenly Father bless you in the New Year!
(source: A Prayer of Oscar Romero)