We’ve been talking a lot about courage in our Sunday school program. Like what it is, what it looks like, and why it’s important. When I asked the children to make a poster with an example of courage, a couple were totally stumped. To those children, I said:
“How about Love is Courage.”
Truth be told, the kids caught me at a busy time; I was racing around trying to answer questions, get my own children settled in their classrooms, and make sure everyone had enough supplies to get their posters going. So when I finally saw the posters laying on the tables at the end of class, I asked myself, “What does that even mean? Love is courage?!”
Perhaps, the better poster would’ve been ‘Love takes Courage.’ But that activity has passed, and has left at least one child a little bit confused.
It’s my 4-year-old, Danny. Of course.
We were at the town vigil to mourn the recent tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and he overheard one of the speakers talking about courage. He asked for a lift up and whispered in my ear.
Danny: Mom. Is courage love?
Mom: Ummm…yes, I guess so.
Danny. Okay. Then I courage you.
So I know, courage is not love. Or at least, not exactly. But linking these things closely is crucial, I think. Because: Love. Takes. Courage. I’m not talking about the feeling love (though, in some cases, that can take courage too). I’m talking about the action love.
It’s the love that looks like feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, welcoming the refugees, dismantling racism and patriarchy, treating others with dignity. It’s the one that looks like admitting you were wrong, asking for forgiveness, facing the depressing news cycle, and then DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. It’s the love that you can easily not do because you’re too busy, too discouraged, or too unmotivated. It’s the love that you hope everyone else makes time for, because it sure would make the world a better place. It’s the love that can leave you wondering: I’m just one person. How big of a difference can I possibly make?
Jesus gave clear instruction on what loving your neighbor should look like, not feel like. And that love takes intention, it takes energy, and it can take courage. Not just the courage to do something hard, but the courage to stop doing something else that doesn’t matter and start making time for loving others.
But it must be done. It’s what makes us Christians. And there are more than enough of us to change this tide.
So, as Danny would put it:
Let’s go courage our neighbors.