Union Ridge Church

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

by Reverend Dan on March 24, 2022
I vividly remember a talk my grandmother and I had on her porch swing overlooking the Rappahannock River when I was only 8 or 9. There had been some scuttle bug going around the church we attended, and it seemed to be self-perpetuating because no one knew the source of the gossip, and therefore no one could address the root of the problem. It just kept going and growing from its own energy. Grandma never took her eyes off the sunset we were watching, and she said, “The courage of your convictions, Danny Boy.” (She loved that song, but that’s another story for another day.) “If you’re too embarrassed to say it out loud, then you may want to rethink your position. If you don’t have the courage of your convictions to stand behind what you believe and stand up for what you believe in, then sit down and keep your mouth shut.”

Maybe it’s our shared DNA, or maybe it’s her teachings and the influence she had on my life, but all these years later I’m a proponent of that same school of thought. All too often people hide behind the anonymity of a computer… or the sinful walls of gossip as they whisper over the phone … or my favorite, a visceral, unsigned letter that’s left in a suggestion box or under the door of your office. It’s easy to be brave when you don’t have to be brave; when you can spew out some derogatory comment that doesn’t edify the church or any person and yet there are no consequences for those words. Actions like those tears at the very fabric of our faith, because they tear at the bond that holds the church together: love. It’s like someone taking the mortar out from between the bricks. The whole building just begins to crumble.

We live in a world of declining accountability and faltering beliefs. People need to be held accountable for the words they say and be willing to stand up for their beliefs. If you’re embarrassed or ashamed to speak something out loud, then maybe that is your conscience telling you that before you take the show on the road, you may need a little more rehearsal. At that point, maybe it’s time to take a personal inventory to see what your real issue is and whether it’s about the edification of the body (the church), or just some personal vendetta you have. Paul says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” More next week . . .​​​​​​​