March 17, 2020

The Right Rev. Dr. George R. Sumner
Bishop, Diocese of Dallas

Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus!

We’re in some difficult times, but we serve a God who offers hope eternal.
We have courage, because we serve a God who cares for us
and will see us through all crises.

In these trying times and we see many coping (or not coping) with fear.
The courage of Christians in times of distress has always served as a witness to those outside the church. It’s important to understand a few things about the anatomy of fear and courage. People reasonably have fear when they confront danger, and fear increases when the danger has an unknown quality (e.g. Coronavirus). Courage is not the absence of fear .

Sometimes people have referred to alcohol as ‘liquid courage.’ That’s a misunderstanding of fear/courage. Alcohol (and other drugs) merely mask or numb the fear to where the person no longer feels the fear, and thereby they exhibit no effect from the fear. That ain’t courage – if anything, it’s a sign of cowardice ( cf , the philosopher Peter Kreeft). True courage is different. Courage sees the fear inspiring threat, masters the fear, and pushes forward through the fear.

In fact, sometimes the courageous person uses the energy produced by fear to move courageously forward with more energy than elsewise, much like surfing a wave. Some has seen the quote in my office by John Wayne. The Duke said, “Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway.”

We’re in a time where the church – individually and corporately – needs to be courageous. Yes, the danger is real, but our God is more real. God spoke the cosmos into existence, and can handle anything. Not only do we have reason for our courage but we have reason for joy. Joy that we have the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with a world He came to save . We’re not going to put ourselves at risk wantonly, yet this is our time to share the love of Jesus!

God is in control!

God’s peace,
The Rev. Dr. Nick Funk