Monday, April 25, 2005

Courageously Ordinary

When we think of courage or fearlessness we tend to think of either reckless daredevil behavior or grand acts of heroism. We either think of Evel Knievel or the NYPD/NYFD doing their post-9/11 thing. Here's the problem with that: very few of us will ever find ourselves needing the kind of courage it takes to rescue someone from a burning building. Oh, and also there's a fine line between courage and foolishness. Jumping over double-decker buses on a motorcycle -- well, I'll let you decide which category that fits into.

Usually, when God calls us to fearless living, he's not asking us to go face-to-face with Pharaoh. He's not asking many of us to play chicken with a giant or sing while we're in prison on trumped-up charges. Most of the people reading this blog live in places of relative comfort and ease.

And yet we are still afraid.

I think the kind of courage God asks of us is courage in the ordinary places -- the kind of courage that might not ever make headlines but might just change the course of history in small ways -- one person at a time. Courage to take risks in our relationships -- wise risks that deepen community and allow us to experience authentic friendships. Courage to face temptation and say no to negative impulses. Courage to dream big dreams. Courage to make difficult decisions. Courage to just endure hard times.

Sure, they don't sound like all that much. But this is how the world turns, and how the world is changed. It looks small right now -- like a pinchful of leaven in enough dough to feed an entire village -- like a tiny mustard seed. But just you wait. Courage like that -- courage in unseen places -- courage in the ordinary turns the world upside down.