December 15, 2017

Advent 2017

"Have Courage"

Study the life of Jesus carefully and you will see: controversy surrounded his birth, his teachings, his actions, his death, and, of course, his resurrection. Rarely was Jesus not at odds with convention, tradition, and societal norms. He called for change in religious structure, caste status, and cultural obligations. How in the world did those who followed Jesus continue with conviction and dedication the efforts to effect the change he began?

During this season we celebrate the beginning of the world changing event of the birth of Christ, but I wonder if we understand what it took for this event not to become just a footnote in history. It has taken a great many convinced and convincing followers of Christ who have persevered in the face of challenge, change, and controversy to make his teachings known. It takes courage. It takes courage to represent the gospel where you are, but that is all you are asked to do. Change, controversy, and challenge are always present, but have courage and you may number yourself among the disciples of Christ who have furthered what he began.

My daughter Sharon, who many of you know, wrote the following poem in 1992. It remains one of my most cherished inspirations.

Remember, Old Man. Think!

How long did you say you've been alive?

That many years? Why, that is almost an eternity.

I guess you must have a secret.

Hah! You babble.

What makes you so sure?

Come closer, I promise this time I'll listen.

Courage? What did you ever need courage for?

Who are you anyway?

Child, just pay attention and remember.

One claiming intelligence lacks wisdom,

And age...age is only experience.

Ah, but courage, courage is the secret.

Without courage, faith is lost.

Without faith, you have nothing.

Have courage and change the world.

-- Richard Ferrell

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