Music & the Spoken Word: The winds of change

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This is an encore performance of “Music & the Spoken Word” with a new “Spoken Word” selected and recorded while the choir is practicing social distancing. This will be given Sunday, May 23, 2021.

You’ve heard it said that nothing is permanent except change. Perhaps no one understands this principle better than those who go sailing. On land, traveling is relatively simple. You can usually count on the ground to be steady, and the route from point A to point B is often a straight line. But those who sail know that the sea can be unpredictable — smooth as glass one moment and raging billows the next.

What’s more, sailors depend on the wind for direction and momentum, but wind does not always blow the way you want it to, and it changes frequently. With this knowledge, the sailors simply adjust their sails. Their course may not be a straight line, but it does finally bring them to their destination. 

Life is more like the sea than land. Even the best planning and the most careful attention to detail cannot always account for the unexpected “winds of change.” Minds change, needs change, and sometimes even our goals change. Some change is under our control, but much of it isn’t. So we adjust accordingly. The need to be flexible in times of change is just as important as having a plan in the first place. 

Sailboats in the late afternoon on the Great Salt Lake, on Wednesday, July 7, 2010.
Sailboats in the late afternoon on the Great Salt Lake, on Wednesday, July 7, 2010. Credit: Deseret News archives

The American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote a simple prayer that today is a beloved source of peace and inspiration for millions. It has come to be known as the “Serenity Prayer”:  

“God give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.” 

Grace, courage and wisdom. With these vital attributes, we can deal with the inevitable changes in the wind that accompany life’s journey. 

The sailor who fights against the wind will make very little progress. Wise sailors know that the wind and the sea are outside their control. But there is just enough within their control to empower them to move forward. Those who adjust and use new circumstances to their advantage can reach their desired destination, no matter how the winds blow. 

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM,, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the, and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at

See the Church News’ archive of ‘Spoken Word’ messages