I have a difficult time viewing safety as a virtue. Resilience perhaps, fortitude to be sure, but not just safety. I want my kids to be safe, of course. I want them to take reasonable precautions when doing dangerous or risky things. Safety serves the risk; it serves a life marked by danger. It is calculated and reasonably weighed out. But danger, why, danger is the stuff that makes life worth living. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “As soon as there is life, there is danger.” To elevate safety above engagement is a cowardly and timid way to engage this world.

Everyone is up in arms in some way.  We all probably have friends on every side who have dug in their heals, marked out their enemy, and are hunkered down at war. Over what? Over whether this whole thing is a hoax or the Black Plague.  Or we are up in arms about our neighbor biking without his mask or the government conspiring to rob us of all our rights. I get it.

The people of God were not a people who stood head and shoulders above everyone else. Their title as His chosen ones did not mean they had the best of everything, that they were safe and secure and lived a fat and happy life free from concern, worry and fear. Rather, their history was marked by slavery, oppression, and nomadic wandering with no place to call their home. They were well acquainted with the horrors of war, disease and struggle.

My childhood home had one of those rooms with nice draperies, inviting end tables, lamps and a large couch in which no one to my memory ever sat. It was not for regular family use. Christmas morning, sure, parties, yes, but on a normal day to day basis no one sat in that large front room of the home. There was no TV there, no table to gather around but on one of the side tables there was a large Bible. It was one of those ridiculously large family Bibles that no one ever used.

She gripped the pink and yellow remains with both tiny hands. A little corner stuck out just above her thumb where she nervously bit to calm down. Ripping tearing thrashing by her own hand, the anxiety was too much to keep inside. That faded fabric barley covered her trembling body. But the routine of it all comforted her. The familiar weight of embrace relaxed her tension. The panic that attacks eventually loosened its hands from inside her throat. She could breathe again.

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14). Most scholars believe this line used by St. Paul is part of an ancient baptismal hymn. You can imagine it being sung out by a gathering of the people of God as the newly baptized rises from the water. Its poetic words form a call to a new life, a life free from the terrors of the grave, free from futility and aimless wandering. Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead,

By Cindy Koch

In the middle of the night, in the depth of darkness, an old feeling may overtake us. It’s always been there, but hidden away for those particularly terrible times. It creeps from our bowels, tossing and turning the bile up into our throats. Until finally, suddenly, it shatters into a million tiny slivers radiating across our spine. Uncontrollable fear takes us captive, paralyzing us from the inside. Bludgeoning our inner peace. Destroying our calm, sound mind.

By Scott Keith

“We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep into our own history and our doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular.” These are the words spoken by Edward R. Murrow as encouragement to those who would stand up in opposition to then Senator McCarthy’s hearings designed to root out all dissenters, whether they were guilty of being communists or not. Mr. Murrow goes on to remind us all of a simple yet exceptionally difficult reality: “We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result.”

By Scott Keith

“We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep into our own history and our doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular.” These are the words spoken by Edward R. Murrow as encouragement to those who would stand up in opposition to then Senator McCarthy’s hearings designed to root out all dissenters, whether they were guilty of being communists or not. Mr. Murrow goes on to remind us all of a simple yet exceptionally difficult reality: “We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result.”