Reflection February 6, 2020

       

Minister’s Reflection  – Feb. 6/20

Rev. Dave Crawford

“Courage of Convictions”

“For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”                                                –  Matthew 16:25.

For a few months back in 2010, while away from ministry for a while, I was hired by the Banff Airporter as a driver, transporting tourists and locals to-and-from the Calgary International Airport. The owners of that successful business were part of the small Latter Day Saints’ community in Banff.  During my time as an employee I was blessed in gaining a new friendship with my manager and his wife, who worked at the Banff Mineral Springs Hospital as a nurse, where I later served for a while as Chaplain.

During my time as a Banff Airporter driver the LDS Church was completing its newest temple in northwest Calgary. My manager extended an invitation to Miho and I to take a tour of the temple before it was blessed or dedicated.  It was quite an experience, and I had more questions following the tour than before, but we greatly appreciated the hospitality, generosity, and kindness we received that day.

The mainstream Church has always had a tenuous relationship (some would say “non-relationship”) with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I recall as a teenager attending a Presbyterian Church youth event at which the guest speaker referred to the LDS Church as a cult, and I’m sure you’ve heard that type of labelling before as well.  Not too long ago while serving in another town, the Ministerial (a group of local pastors/ministers) had heated discussions on the question of whether or not to include that town’s LDS Church on a town poster listing the local churches. Such differences surely persist today, and it ought to be admitted that there are significant incongruities regarding tenets between the LDS and other churches. Yet basic gospel elements are shared, and sometimes displayed publicly.

Senator Mitt Romney has been around politics for many years. His father was governor of Michigan.  Mitt himself was the GOP nominee for US president in 2012.  We see his face, we know instantly who he is. Yesterday on the floor of the Senate, prior to a final vote on whether or not to impeach and remove the current president, Romney gave a speech about why he was going to vote against his Party, the Republicans, and vote to impeach. It had nothing to do with political self-preservation and had everything to do with personal integrity, and with discipleship.  He was well aware of the punishment he’d endure in going against his GOP colleagues: the social media trolling, the vicious, cynical attacks from many sides, and the political isolation, even the possibility of the end of his political career at the next election.  Yet, as he put it, “I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential.”

I guess it’s an old, outdated expression these days but some of us remember the phrase “the courage of convictions”, as in “so-and-so has the courage of her convictions.”  Romney has them.  Do we?  Firstly, convictions?  What are our core, basic, unassailable convictions?  If you can’t identify what your convictions  are, perhaps it’s time for some serious reflection, or a chat with your minister.  Secondly, do we possess the courage to adhere to those convictions when push come to shove?  The courage to stand up to persecution, ridicule, or even bullying?

Jesus’ words on life’s essence are recorded in all three synoptic Gospels, their relevance eternal, in the realm of human ethics and morality.  There is truth to what the Savior says, there is life and peace.  May we consider those words once again:

“For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (Mark 8:35)

Grace and Peace

Dave