Saturday 13 November 2010

Prayer for Courage

The poet Grace Noll Crowell (1877 -1969) was once very well known, but now somehow a lot of of her work shows up as "author unknown." 

I'm sharing her "Prayer for Courage" below as inspiration for those of us who often find ourselves in the cross-hairs of controversy and anger people often instinctively fling our way -- especially, for example, when taking unpopular but morally-principled stands against "endless war", or when confronting racism, or when calling for the right remembering of history, or when holding forth alternative ways to resolve conflict and deal with violence. 

We indeed need courage when making choices about how to best respond in daily conversation with (or overhearing the conversation of) others whose racism or prejudice is only thinly disguised or defended by their "patriotism" and "nationalism" - especially when coming from a close relative or friend.  And it's especially problematic when such opposition comes from other Christians who should know better - who somehow have never quite "gotten it" - that following in the Spirit of Jesus always leads us to a much better way, though it indeed requires this sort of courage: 

Prayer for Courage

God, make me brave for life: oh, braver than this.
Let me straighten after pain, as a tree straightens after the rain, shining and lovely again. 

God, make me brave for life, much braver than this.
As the blown grass lifts, let me rise from sorrow with quiet eyes, knowing your way is wise. 

God, make me brave; life brings such blinding things.
Help me to keep my sight.
Help me to see that out of dark comes light.

Grace Noll Crowell (1877 -1969)


I commend the reading of this article - a well written description by someone interested in restoring popular awareness of Crowell's deeply spiritual life and body of work.  It includes an essay Crowell herself wrote entitled "Songs Out of Suffering" (which includes her account of what brought her to write the poem above, and the response it created.)


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