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Friday, September 12, 2014

God of grace and God of glory, on thy people pour thy power;
crown thine ancient church’s story; bring its bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days,
for the living of these days.

Lo! the hosts of evil round us scorn thy Christ, assail his ways!
From the fears that long have found us free our hearts to faith and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days,
for the living of these days.

Harry Emerson Fosdick’s “God of Grace and Glory”
(tune: CWM Rhondda)
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

My job working as a veterinary assistant couldn’t be more different than my job here at the church! Fourth Presbyterian Church is a place where people gather to enrich their relationships with God and with others. Christian values are placed at the forefront, and kindness and respect for coworkers are a given. It’s a pretty great place to work, and I’m thankful for that.

My first day on the job at the veterinary clinic was quite a change. There was a snow storm that left 4 inches of snow outside the clinic, but that didn’t stop the twenty dogs boarding there from needing walks at 7:30 a.m. or keep the three frantic clients waiting at the door with their sick pets from needing help right away. My first lesson as a veterinary assistant was that this was a business first, which meant that the priority of providing the best care possible for clients and patients sometimes puts mentoring and camaraderie second. In the name of providing healing and compassionate care, one ends up dealing with such things as “jabs” about this vet’s incompetency or that vet assistant’s laziness, shouting matches with difficult clients, fractious cats, barking dogs, angry ferrets, and an office manager overwhelmed with employee issues and a tight budget.

After my first intense day at the vet, I found myself saying the infamous Serenity Prayer each morning as I headed up the walk to the clinic. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Somehow those words felt like a shield that protected my heart against the challenges of the world and kept it open and receptive to the good around me and that those of us at the clinic were called to do.

Harry Emerson Fosdick’s words in “God of Grace and God of Glory” have the same affect on me. To me, they are about holding tight to God’s strength, power, to a sense of wonder and love, despite the evils of the world that bombard us every day—things like hatred and pettiness, insecurities, anxiety, even sickness and death. The words are about living each day with the power and grace of God behind us no matter what happens in the world. I can’t think of a better attitude-changer. I love my job at the veterinary clinic. The staff does so much good for animals. But I think I may memorize the lines to Mr. Fosdick’s hymn to add to my morning serenity prayer.

God of grace and God of glory, grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the living of these days. Now and evermore. Amen.

Written by Patty Donmoyer, Receptionist

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