Do you consider yourself to be brave, courageous, and fearless? Are you one who is eager to take on a challenging situation head-on without showing any kind of fear? If so, more power to you! That certainly isn’t how I would describe myself! However, I am ready and willing to praise those who exemplify true bravery for the rest of us.

The scripture passages we will look at this coming Sunday, July 7, provide us with several very fine examples of bravery.

  • In our Old Testament lesson, the prophet Ezekiel was given a most challenging job by God (see Ezekiel 2:1-5). God told Ezekiel that he was being sent to the people of Israel, a people who had turned their back against God.  God warned Ezekiel that the task wouldn’t be easy.  He would find the Israelites stubborn, disrespectful & rebellious.  It doesn’t sound like a mission I’d be very excited about joining.  However, Ezekiel is willing and he goes.  He was a brave man!

  • Our New Testament lesson has two parts to it (see Mark 6:1-13). In the first segment, Jesus is back in his hometown of Nazareth to teach in the synagogue.  He didn’t receive a very warm welcome there and was only able to do a few healings.  As Jesus moved out among the villages, he recruited the help of his 12 disciples.  They were to go bravely to the homes of the people and to share the message of repentance with them.  Jesus was aware their message may be rejected so he warned them in advance.

  • Finally, our psalm for the day is Psalm 123. It is only four short verses in length but provides a great example of one who confidently pleads for mercy, for help and relief from God in the midst of the challenges the people are facing: “So our eyes look to the Lord our God until he has mercy upon us.”

Life is filled with all kinds of challenges.  We know that.  No matter what our age, we all experience things from time to time that really test our courage, times when we simply don’t know the best way to move forward.  We know we need to make a change, but how?  That is where our faith comes in and we pray for direction and guidance from God.  And we remember, we are not left alone to face the difficulties before us.  God is with us!

Three questions I invite you to ponder this week as you prepare to gather for worship:

  • What is one time in your life that you really needed to step up and be brave?
  • What was it that finally got you moving forward?
  • Where do you believe the church today needs courage to move forward in responding to God’s vision to be a more welcoming and inclusive church for all?