What could you do if you dared to experience 20 seconds of insane courage? Looking back on missed opportunities in our lives can hold us back. But what would happen if instead, from now on, we looked at the opportunities ahead with the faith to step out in trust and do the right thing with 20 seconds of embarrassing courage? This Sunday we are celebrating the Hall of Fame of Faith for Washington Cathedral as we celebrate 32 years of ministry in this community. We will see and hear the stories of people who stepped out with the faith of David facing Goliath. Those who took a stand in order to make sure there was a church that was committed to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with a world full of people. People who are very far from God. There are so many heroic stories that I am sure your soul will be stirred. We wouldn’t be here without heroes of the faith. People who knew deep inside that there was a bright future for this great caring network. People who are cheering us on as we become an incredible movement and as we pass the baton to those ready to carry on the same kind of gutsy – courageous faith that Jesus asked of his disciples.
We will have a very memorable slide show depicting this courage through 32 years. In John chapter 15, which comes right after John 14 if you were wondering, Jesus decides to talk straight to the disciples – no more parables or metaphors for a few minutes. He was going to display his love by volunteering for the cross. He prophesies that his friends, the ones he chose to call his followers, will have their sadness turned to joy. In John 15:31 he tells them they are all going to run — they are going to chicken out. Yet when he is alone he will not be alone because the Father will be with him. Wow – this sermon could be entitled “Never Alone.” He tells them they can have peace when they go through incredible trials and sorrows. He instructs them to take heart because his moments of courage mean he is overcoming the world.
I stood on the church hill with Retired Marine and Korean War Veteran Bill Holmes where hardly anyone showed up for our salmon dinner kickoff to build Spirit Falls. Every conversation I tried to enter would grow silent because they were talking about me. Where did I get off thinking this church would prevail through such tough times? Bill Holmes invited me to go the edge of the hill with him. He always had my back, often attending every service just to pray for me. Even though he was many years older than me, we played basketball together, and I never saw a guy so old who could still mix it up with the young guys and deliver a high lob pass so accurately. He had played point guard for Seattle University during their glory years. With Bill, I couldn’t help but score. (Yes, in those days when I jumped I actually left the ground.) Bill seemed to know what I was thinking and he spoke to my fears there on the edge of that hill. He said, “Do you see it Pastor Tim?” I asked, “See what?” He responded, “The sanctuary with a glass steeple, and a beautiful waterfall.” I told him I saw it, but truly I was just trying to see it through my discouragement and loneliness knowing that Bill had pancreatic cancer and would not be there for the big battle to come. He said, “You know what else I see?” I replied, “No.” Full of faith, Bill responded “I see it full of people, all kinds of people, many times a week until the end of the world.” It was about a 20 second conversation – 20 seconds of faith – 20 seconds of insane courage.
Don’t miss this Sunday and learn how 20 seconds of courage can change your life.
Your friend for the rest of my life,
Pastor Tim White