Wednesday, April 8, 2020
The courage to follow God is a courage that few of us truly understand. We are still with Peter and John who have now been publicly jailed. While in jail, an angel of God opens the prison doors, brings them out, and compels them to get back in the temple and “tell the people the whole message about this life.” The religious leaders can’t believe their eyes. They can’t keep them in prison. They can’t stop them from talking. They can’t dissuade their witness. Their courage knows no end.
If anybody in this church has ever received an email or note from George Brightwell, there is a good chance he signed off: “Courage, George!” George reminds me frequently that the word “courage” comes to us from the Latin word “cor” by way of the old French word “corage.” Both are the word “heart” … as in, the seat of our passions … feelings.
Holy Week is when we talk about the Passion of Christ. It is about suffering or aching … another feeling word. So this is a week that is less about being rational and more about the suffering heart of Christ. Here God weeps with us. Here God uses our hearts to connect with those who are suffering.
It takes courage to speak truth to power. It takes courage to stand alone. It takes courage to speak out … to call out … our own faith traditions, our own denominations, our own pastors, or our own leaders. It is so much easier to fall in line and refrain from making waves. But finally, if we listen, we will hear God calling. God calls in the voice of the weak, the poor, and the people standing in the margins. Through prayer and Christian dialogue.
With Peter, we then answer the authorities: “We must obey God over human authority!” God calls us to love of God and neighbor. If our actions don’t meet that test, God is speaking. “Take courage. Speak truth to power. When you stand with me, you will never stand alone!”
Give us courage, Lord, to listen and stand with you! Amen.