Touché January 20, 2017
Posted on January 20, 2017 by under Touché,

 

Courage

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  (Philippians 1:20; NIV)

I finished a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer the night before the inauguration.  Bonhoeffer was a preacher in Germany who was executed a few days before the Allies arrived to liberate his concentration camp at Flossenburg.  His story is a profile in courage about speaking the gospel in dangerous times.  Today we celebrate the transition of power in the United States.  It is clear from President Trump’s cabinet appointments that change is coming.  It will be a time for all Christians to discern how God is working through those changes.  I know that our country is deeply divided and I know that the church is deeply divided.

The core value we speak of this Sunday is courage.  “Courage is the ability to stay in action even in the face of fear. Courage is intrinsically connected to faith.  We do not have faith in certain outcomes, but rather, we have faith in God.  Because we believe that God is for us and intends our ultimate good, we act courageously.  Our faith in God trumps our fear. “

We also build courage by learning to stay in relationship with others when things are emotionally charged and the stakes are high.  Being able to facilitate dialogue during times of stress and pressure is one of the keys skills that we need to practice in transformation.  Fear leads us to “fight, flight or freeze.” We often see those actions in the church or among Christians.  Courage leads us to speak, act and to stay connected. That is much harder work.

Today I pray for President Trump that he leads with compassion, wisdom and justice.  I pray for courage in him that will lead to benefits for the poor and the marginalized in this world.  I pray for all of us that we unite together with a vision of the common good and we have the courage to work for a world that reflects the plan and purpose of God.

The Apostle Paul prayed that he might have the courage to reflect Christ in everything that he did.  Bonhoeffer reflected that courage. As he died, the doctor who oversaw his execution wrote: “In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.”  I pray for that same courage for us as we live in hope this inauguration day.

In Christ,

Taylor