Harry Emerson Fosdick, a great preacher in the early twentieth century wrote the words for the “Living of These Days.” His days included deeply divisive social issues and deep personal depression. As I write about the courage for the living of our days, I need to ask how you see your days. Perhaps we think of the great issues of our day or maybe personal pain overwhelms all else.
Our days involve constant change. Issues evolve and so do I. In the social/political realm we see the days differently. The days are characterized by anger, alienation and polarization. To live with a belief in reconciliation requires courage. I need courage to admit I do not know everything. I need courage to listen. I need courage to speak my truth in ways that invite conversation instead of arousing defensive responses. I need courage to change my mind. I need courage to hold the other with respect and kindness.
Our days involve constant personal change. Health changes. Children grow and leave. Loved ones die. Griefs pile up. I need courage to endure the pain of loss. I need courage to “be there” for friends. I need courage to live again. I need courage to face the changes that catch me off guard. I need courage to make adjustments even as I open to new relationships.
Our days involve the “meanwhile” times when we are not sure what comes next. Lots of “meanwhile” between one senior pastor and the next. Looking back, I find myself grateful for the courage of pastor, staff and congregation to wrestle with issues while staying in relationship and remaining committed to love. Now that commitment still requires the courage to love and hope.
Future days are coming. They will include relationships that enrich, love that redeems, acceptance that saves. They will include risks to be taken, issues to confront and challenges to heart and soul. The days include a call to faith, a trust that the Spirit accompanies us “For the Living of These Days.” It will take courage.