Acting courageously in the face of fear

| Kate Soucheray | July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

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As we celebrate our nation’s independence from the British monarchy — won nearly 250 years ago and marked each Fourth of July ­— we notice flags flying boldly, proclaiming the liberty and freedom by which our self-governance is best known. If we also refer back to the readings of the season of Easter, the seven weeks between that momentous spiritual event and prior to the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we recall the heroic ventures of the early Christians. While these instances have differences, there are similarities. We celebrate two groups of people who stood firmly for what they believed, even to the point of sacrificing their lives.

If someone asked us today what cause we would be willing to stand firmly for, even to the point of experiencing isolation, humiliation or our own death, would we have a response? If we do not have an answer to this question, perhaps we would benefit from stepping back and spending a bit of time examining our lives and our values, investigating what is most important to us.

We may find that it is our family and how we are raising our children, as well as being available for family members and grandchildren. If you are raising your children in this culture, you are certainly aware of the insidious nature of the influences that surround them at every turn — so much so, that many of these influences threaten to take away the innocence of childhood. These influences also cause adolescents to be unclear about concerns of right and wrong, confusing the use of their conscience and the development of character. Furthermore, many adults find that following a well-formed conscience is a challenge at this time, due to the many pressures that exist at work, in social situations or online.

ACTION CHALLENGETake time this month to acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s voice in your heart and head. Through God’s grace, develop your spiritual ear to actively respond to the Spirit’s inspiration.

What is most important to you may be a social justice issue, such as homelessness, climate change or the poverty that is increasing in our world due to terrorism, the loss of agricultural land, the lack of clean water, the inability to secure an education or the lack of a stable government. You may decide to become actively involved in addressing one of these issues, realizing that while you may be only a small part of the solution to the problem, you are doing what you can to help alleviate the pain and suffering experienced by others, whether you know them personally or not.

At the heart of this is the sense of solidarity we have with people in our world who are hurting in some way and the importance we place on our common humanity. Just as the early European settlers to America strove for freedom from Great Britain, the early followers of Christ met opposition and hardship as they continued to live out the precepts of the newly founded Christian faith. Just as the European settlers broke away from Great Britain, establishing independence and self-rule, the early Christians broke away from their Jewish roots, inaugurating a completely new relationship with God. No longer was God far away, only to be referred to as “Lord” because his name was too sacred to speak. He was now a personal God, concerned about their personal setbacks and struggles, ready to help them through the power of his Holy Spirit.

As we celebrate the independence of the early European settlers from English rule, in contrast, Christians also celebrate the mystifying, inexplicable experience of God’s presence through the risen Christ, fully with them and among them, by the power of his indwelling Spirit. Throughout this month, let us place a focus on this presence within each one of us, responding to the grace that is offered to us, helping us become witnesses and examples of Christ’s holiness in our world.

Soucheray is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a member of Guardian Angels in Oakdale. She holds a master’s degree in theology from The St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul.

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Category: Simple Holiness