"The gate is wide, the road is paved in moderation The crowd is kind and quick to pull you in Welcome to the middle ground You're safe and sound and until now it's where I've been.
'Cause it's been fear That ties me down to everything But it's been love, Your love That cuts the strings
So long status quo, I think I just let go You make me wanna be brave The way it always was is no longer good enough You make me wanna be brave"
And then, as the Lord always does when He wants to teach me something, two articles came across my computer screen.
Susie Hawkins from namb.net writes
"(1) Bravery is faith fearlessness, (2) Bravery demonstrates trust, (3) Bravery takes risks. C.S. Lewis said, "Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point...a chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky". And as he points out, kingdom-minded lives require us to be brave in living out all biblical principles, even challenging conditions. In fact that is exactly where "true bravery" occurs.
Laura Stephens Reed, from laurastephensreed.com writes:
"Prior to the pandemic, a number of clergy were working under unrealistic expectations, whether those came from their congregations or from their own internal "shoulds". And then in March they had to change the ways they did nearly everything and fast. They became not just preachers but tech experts with all that entails: recording, editing, sound mixing, lighting, inviting people to and teaching them how to participate in and managing online meetings, exploring the most accessible social media platforms, and monitoring cyber security. They spend many hours trying to get all of this right because worship and Bible study and fellowship are so critical, not knowing that they'd have to continue all that they started beyond a few weeks, often without much help from others. The effects of all these difficulties are taking their toll. They have deepened pre-existing fault lines and created new ones. Clergy who already had some sense of discontent now have one foot out the door, and some who were happy are seriously questioning whether their current context is still a good fit. The result, I predict, is going to be a tidal wave of pastoral departures once churches re-gather, and maybe sooner depending on how long the pandemic rages on. Church folks, this time is hard for everyone, It's hard for you and it's hard for your pastor."
Yes it has been hard and tiring. There were some days when the Preacher and I were very tired from trying to keep it all going as if there was nothing wrong.
But brave? Did we feel brave? No.
The Preacher has taken precautions due to some breathing issues but he loves the Word of God and loves his congregation. So he will continue to be brave for the Word and for you.