Sociologist, Researcher, Storyteller and spiritual giant – Brene Brown – has singlehandedly rehabilitated the image of “vulnerability”. Her work, which is based on a ton of research (she is a scientist – after all) literally reframes what we understand to be courage. “Courage is a heart word” she explains; the Latin root cor—means heart.
In its earliest form, courage used to mean, ‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.’ In other words, courage was considered being whole-hearted, putting all of yourself in.
Today, we tend to associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But there is no brave deed, no heroic act – without putting in your whole heart. Whether it is saving a drowning child from a raging river or standing up for children in the face of raging injustice – there is no risk-taking-courage that does not require an investment of the heart.
I love this further explanation from Brown, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness.”
Well, this past Sunday, we read a story about Jesus being both vulnerable and courageous. You see, he was in danger long before he got to Jerusalem. Yet he reached down into his heart, grabbed ahold of the love of God’s people that he had come to serve – and he steadfastly, deliberately, courageously, whole heartedly, and vulnerably stopped along the way to heal and teach and preach and love – the children of God that needed him.
Brown says that, “Courage is a habitus, a habit, a virtue: You get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn to courage by couraging.” I wonder if she learned that from watching Jesus.
Beloved, turn to your neighbor this week and meet them with your whole-heart – meet them with all of you, and meet them in their need. Show up. Be you. Be seen. And here’s the hard part – have the heart to let them be them. I bet there a place for you both to get vulnerable, share a little compassion, exchange a dose of mercy, and receive a whole lot of love. That IS “couraging”.
Wholeheartedness, mercy, compassion, love… when you give that away, you get courage!
And God knows we all could use a little more of that.
Check out the whole sermon on wholeheartedness and join us this Sunday at 10:30 cos everybody needs a little sanctuary.
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