Daily Reflection
June 4th, 2008

Eileen Wirth

Journalism Department
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For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.

Every semester in my Media History class, I show my students the powerful TV images of young African-Americans being beaten, jailed and attacked by dogs because they wanted to go to public swimming pools, eat in restaurants and vote. Unfailingly, many of my students are shocked just as we were shocked when we turned on the evening news in the ‘60’s – the reason for showing the footage.

I pray that these images also will provoke reflection about the power of moral courage and non-violent love– the message of today’s letter from St. Paul to Timothy.

On the tapes, deeply Christian civil rights leaders talk about the freedom they felt from overcoming their fear of imprisonment or even death, just as St. Paul did. Christ, St. Paul reminds us, “destroyed death” freeing us to live with “power and love and self-control.” What have we to fear? Lots, I suspect.

In junior high, we absorb a lifelong message. Keep your mouth shut when you see injustice or pay a price. Few Christians are braver than teens who buck a clique of “popular kids” to befriend a “nerd.” They’re risking social death. God bless them if they do it anyhow.

As adults, they’ll be the people who thwart a damaging power game at work or refuse to participate in nasty gossip around the water cooler. They’ll refuse to laugh at cruel jokes and reach out to a hurting neighbor whose spouse has just abandoned him or her. They have freed themselves from fears of what others think so they can live powerful lives of love even if only a few people are aware of their courage and goodness.

If we believe that Christ destroyed death, we’ll take the modest risks required to live like this even if it costs us a spot at the coffee klatch or makes us an outsider at the club.

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