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He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Primum; Fortitudo

Fortitudo also known as bravery, will and courage, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, prejudice or intimidation. Moral courage is the courage to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement. Some define courage as lacking fear in a situation that would normally generate it, others, in contrast, hold that courage requires one to have fear and then overcome it. The heroic or epic version of courage would imply a person's insistence to do the right thing even in the face of certain defeat without promise of reward or salvation: the hero is trusting in personal resources and strength, "relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves [...] finally realizing there is no rescue or salvation to count on." In this sense courage rises to its greatest honour, however, it is tragic.

It takes courage and fortitude to assume a position of sacrifice without the realization of a gift in exchange. It takes courage to understand that 'to do onto' may have little effect except to relieve another's burden, with knowledge that given the same opportunity 'as you would have' will not happen. It takes a tremendous amount of courage, strength and fortitude to separate oneself from the group norm and act in a manner indicative of your personal beliefs and values. It is difficult to remove oneself from the truth which a community holds and whatever beliefs and values they allow as an expression of that community, its norms and acceptable behaviour.

If "Truth is simply whatever your community lets you get away with", then it takes resolve and perseverance to deal with the variant issues propagated by a community or group, it takes courage to stand as a prophetic voice to a generation, with either warning or exhortation, it requires fortitude and resilience to rebuke the dissenting voices or stand with those affirming and contesting. By fortitudo or courage, one keeps one's aversions, particularly but not only fear, in check so that there is no shirking of a person's moral responsibilities in situations of danger or other adversity. It is the mean between recklessness or over-boldness and cowardice or defeatism.

To be a Joseph, a Moses, an Elijah, a John the Baptist, to represent Jesus in this place, at this time means? should mean?

Joseph who had an intuitive sense of God's purpose and courageously and patiently waited for the 'good' and responded with 'good',... 'as he would (should) have'... had when the opportunity to presented itself; Moses who had the courage to 'stand in the gap' for a faithless people not having any regard for his own life; Elijah who was in constant opposition with the people of his time and confrontational with the leadership of the country; John the Baptist who was practical and discriminating, preaching repentance from self-love and covetousness to the point of challenging the leadership of both the religious community and the country and brought upon himself the ire of the King.

In each of these men there is purpose being served, purpose which has as its goal the Glory of God, but also the people, the individuals that comprised a people and for those individuals, these men stood as bastions of faith and courage to keep and preserve a heritage and a lineage of faithful followers of God. They sacrificed, faced incredible dangers, conflicts and mystery believing that what they were doing had incredible consequence for those they served. They served the God of Abraham and of Issac and of Jacob.

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