Just a few days ago, I heard on the news a report about successful Black women entrepreneurs in Detroit. The woman being interviewed said that an entrepreneur is someone who can endure risk and bounce back from hardship. That strikes me as an excellent description of what our church needs right now during this long, painful, dangerous, and highly frustrating pandemic. The virus has caused us to endure risk whether we want to or not. But we need now to focus on how we are going to bounce back from hardship, or come back stronger.
Enduring risk, or a courageous willingness to take on risk, should be a big part of the Christian life. So much of what Jesus preached and how he lived was about taking important risks to do the right thing. He could have easily avoided crucifixion but clearly chose not to play it safe. Now I am not talking about risky behavior during the pandemic, some silly notion that faith in God will protect us against getting sick even if we carelessly or recklessly violate safety protocols. I am talking about the risks of Christian discipleship such as speaking the truth and defending the oppressed and doing what is right instead of what is safe or popular.
At one point in his long career, the football player Drew Brees had his throwing arm shattered by a tackle. It took well over a year of rehab, but in the end his throwing arm healed and was even stronger than it was before the injury. That is the kind of mindset we need right now for our church. We are going through a very difficult time. We don’t know how much longer it will last. We worry that the church as we knew it will be changed forever and maybe not for the best. But my hope and prayer is that we will come back even stronger. Different, yes, but stronger. More fit and courageous to carry on the mission of the church. Let it be so, O God, and let us get to work on it.