This month in worship and our children’s faith development classes, we’ll be journeying together into what it means to be a people of courage. And we’ll begin the month by wondering together what it means to belong to this community. Which might seem odd — how does membership require courage? I believe that belonging to a community like this one — a community that is justice-seeking and unconditionally loving — takes a great deal of courage! We are daring to declare that we can imagine a better world together, and then we are daring to make it so. In a world that values cynicism, individualism, and profit, that is a bold statement indeed.
We will also explore the courage it takes to grow, the courage it takes to come out of all manner of closets, and the courage it takes to question authority and hold true to your values (as part of a reflection on the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, which I assure you will be a more thrilling romp through history than you can imagine!).
All of these different modalities of courage call on different aspects of our minds, bodies, and spirits to be present to things that scare us. Perhaps you are afraid of going out on a limb, of upsetting your neighbors, or of tension in your family. But I also want us to keep in our hearts those for whom daily life requires a great deal of courage — women, people of color, immigrants, queer folks, and others whose lives include constant fear for their physical safety and well-being.
As we journey into this month together, I invite us to take heart from these words, adapted from the Rev. Leslie Ahuvah Falls: “We stand at the precipice, arms locked together like tandem skydivers working up the courage to jump. … Blessed are you, Spirit of Life who has sustained us, enlivened us and enabled us to reach this moment. Give us courage in our leaping, and gratitude in our landing.”