Faith Matters

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 “On Daring Individuality!

So then, friends, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:15

My wife and I were driving our granddaughters back to their parents the other day.  There is a DVD in the van which plays Bible story songs, and they love to sing along.  What else would you expect from a retired pastor and an educator who just happens to be the best ‘Grandmommie’ on the planet?  And guess what?  We find ourselves singing along, too… and here are some words that caught my ear from a song titled, “Dare To Be a Daniel…”

“Dare to be a Daniel; dare to stand alone.
Dare to have a purpose firm; dare to make it known.”

It’s amazing what great messages come from such small children with big hearts and strong voices!  And if you’re not sure who Daniel is… then let me point you to the Bible’s Old Testament to that 12-chaptered-book between Ezekiel and Hosea… to the story of the life of a young man named, Daniel, a wise and good-looking man now in his 80’s… an interpreter of dreams, who got in trouble with the king for praying out loud in public to God.  His punishment was to be tossed into a den of lions.  That was going to be the end of Daniel, but he is now remembered for surviving that encounter as the story tells of how God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions… each and every one of them… and how now not a one of us can keep silent about the power, love and protection of God.  So…

“Dare to be a Daniel; dare to stand alone.
Dare to have a purpose firm; dare to make it known.”

What a great 3-fold recipe for life… dare to stand alone… dare to have a purpose… dare to make it known.  Wow! We know lots of folks who fit that model… sometimes good and sometimes not so much… people like Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks or Henry Ford.  But there was also John Dillinger and Dylann Roof whose evil pale in comparison to Heinrich Himmler or Idi Amin.  All stood alone.  Each had a purpose.  They dared to make it known and all are remembered… for their goodness or for the terrible choices they made…

But did they all stand alone?  Was Daniel’s effort a solitary response to a king’s law broken?  Or did he have the help of God’s angel, Gabriel?  Are any of us alone in our efforts?  Who else was complicit in the murdering of six million Jews?  Didn’t Martin Luther and MLK both benefit from the ‘social media’ of their day?  While each of us has opportunity to take a stand… and live deeply into a purposeful life by letting others know… we do it acknowledging those who have helped us come to the place we are now and if we believe what we do has positive value… then we certainly want others to join in…

Thus… in my world… I always want to believe we are all wonderfully and mysteriously connected to the eternal love and grace of God… the one God who demonstrated daring individuality by coming into our world in the flesh and blood life of the one we know as Jesus of Nazareth… the one who also showed a certain daring individuality in saving the world from it’s brokenness by hanging on a tree to die about 2,000 years ago.  No one came to his rescue that day.  It wasn’t necessary and still we cannot keep our mouths shut about it …

So, as we enter the fullness of Summer this Memorial Day weekend… let us remember not only the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in moments of daring and purpose… let us take a moment also to expand that thought to acknowledge the fragileness of our own collective stories including the unique and remote chance that any of us is here to notice or even be noticed!

My wife and I are wanting our grandchildren to be more than just a dare to be a Daniel and more than a dare to stand alone… we’re also wanting others nearby to notice life’s great traditions so we can all make them known together… by word of mouth… or via a letter or even by DVD!  Faith matters.

The Rev.   Dr.   Brian   K.   Gigee   is   a   long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches over the last four decades in Texas and Louisiana.  Read more following Brian’s blogmurmuringsat   Send comments and/or questions to [email protected].

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