24 February 2008

Quenching Our Thirst

John 4:1-30; 39-42

Third Sunday in Lent/24th February 2008

“He had to go to Samaria.” John tells us, “…he left Judea and started back to Galilee,” “But he had to go to Samaria.” What we need to know is that he didn’t have to go through Samaria, in fact his disciples probably wished he had not. A good Jew avoided Samaria and Samaritans – well, like the plague. A respectable, Law-abiding Jew wouldn’t be caught dead there – or alive. The whole place was disgusting, unclean for them. It all goes back to the time of the exile to Babylon. Israel, that is, the old northern tribes of Ephraim, called Samaritans, remained behind, they were not exiled. They stayed in the land, intermarried with their occupiers, and later allowed Alexander the Great (356-323) to build a temple on Mt. Gerizim. When Judah (the southern tribes) returned from Babylon, preserving Jewish identity was their first priority and would not accept any temple for the restored nation except the one built by Ezra in Jerusalem (in 450 BC). The Samaritans were followers of Yahweh (at least they thought they were). The center of their worship life was the ancient city of Shechem, not Jerusalem. Abraham built an altar for Yahweh in Shechem (Gen 12:6-8) on his way with Sarah into Canaan. Both Jacob and Joshua are associated with the place. The bones of Joseph were transported there from Egypt (Joshua 24:32). It’s a significant place – or was. In Jesus’ time a faithful Jew had nothing to do with a Samaritan. They avoided them. The most direct route from Judea to Galilee was through Samaria; however, in order to maintain ritual purity, people would rather take the long way around and avoid it altogether.

So when the text says Jesus had to go to Samaria, he really didn’t have to go – unless, of course, there was a reason. The main road forks at Shechem, also known, as in John’s Gospel, as Sychar, and in the middle of the road is Jacob’s Well where we find Jesus, sitting alone by the well, “tired out by his journey. It was about noon.” John’s attention to detail, such as the time of day, is remarkable and always serves a larger purpose. The hottest time of the day is not the time to get water from the well, particularly this well that was more than 100 feet deep, requiring considerable effort to access the water. You wouldn’t go to the well at this time, unless you couldn’t go when the rest of the women went to the well, which was in the cool of the evening. You wouldn’t go in the heat of the day unless you were ostracized or being excluded by your community. Yet, it’s precisely at this time that this Samaritan woman approaches the well to draw water and Jesus begins to speak to her.

There’s something else we need to know. Jesus wasn’t supposed to talk to this woman. Listen to the conventional ethical wisdom of his day: “A man shall not talk with a woman in the street, not even with his own wife, on account of what others may say. He that talks much with womankind brings evil upon himself. If any man gives a woman a knowledge of God’s Law, it is as though he had taught her lechery.”[1] Jesus says, “Give me a drink.”

What we also need to know is that a Jew and Samaritan could not drink from a common cup or share utensils. A Jews’ cup had to pure, probably made of stone. Hence the startling response of the woman, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” And then Jesus began to share with her the word of God, a knowledge of God that will transform her life.

A well and the water it holds become metaphors for the life of Christ. The ordinary becomes the occasion of the extraordinary, an entrĂ©e into the new world that Christ offers to those who “drink” from him. If you knew who was asking you, “Give me a drink,” you would be wanting more than water, but living water. Of course she hasn’t a clue what Jesus is talking about. Why would she? It’s all rather mystical. It’s not unlike Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus, as we saw last week, when he says to have the life of God you must be born again, or born from above, and Nic gets all confused (John 3). Actually, there’s an intentional contrast here between the two stories: Nic comes at night; the woman comes in broad daylight; Nic is the insider, as Pharisee, who realizes he’s on the outside of Jesus’ message because he doesn’t understand it; the woman is an outside, both as a Samaritan and even in her own community, she’s an outsider – burned through five marriages and now has a live-in lover, who is not her husband, and yet by the end of the story she becomes an insider, a follower. She’s more open to Jesus’ message than Nicodemus was, probably because she realized just how much was empty and missing in her life.

“Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?” How can you be greater than our ancestor Jacob who provided for us by giving this well? “Drink from this water,” and you’ll be thirsty again, drink “of the water that I give you” and you’ll never be thirsty.” “The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman doesn’t understand. She’s being concrete, literal – one might say, practical. “Give me this water so that I may never be thirsty and/or have to keep coming here to draw water.” In other words, “Give me this water so that I might never thirst and never again have to come to this blasted well. Because, you see, Mister, it’s exhausting, tiring, trying to quench this thirst day after day, carrying the water in these jugs. Going to the well, alone. This well represents and reminds me of all that is wrong with my life – all the shame, the isolation, the exhaustion. Day after day I have to fill this empty jug to quench a thirst that allows me to keep on living, for without water I will die, but what kind of life do I really have? I keep going to this well, even though my life has run dry.”

When Jesus says the water he offers “gushes” up into eternal life, it literally means “leaping up,” “welling up.” It’s a vivid image. It’s the word used by Isaiah to describe the lame “leaping up” for joy in Yahweh, the Spirit of the Lord that causes life, real life, eternal life, the life of God. It’s how the psalmist spoke of God, “For with you is the fountain of life” (Psalm 36:9). Or it’s the kind of life Isaiah tells us God provides, “The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:11).

She probably realizes that Jesus is talking about more than water when he says, “Fetch your husband – so that he, too, (!) can share this living water.” She lies, probably from shame. She denies having a husband. Then she exposes her lies and pretensions and reveals the truth of her life – not to judge, but to reveal. There is considerable depth of divine concern for this one individual; you see, it’s why Jesus had to go to Samaria. “You’re right, you don’t have a husband.” You have to wonder just how loving the relationship could be. It couldn’t have been all that affirming because if it were she would have been married. After being married five times, she is also extremely poor.

Without mentioning this further, she shifts the conversation to talk theology; she wants to know why her people have been so unfairly mistreated, judged as unlovable. There will come a time, the time of the Messiah, when all these divisions will be removed, the excluded included, the worship of Yahweh not identified with a space or place, but a worship that reflects the nature of God, who is spirit, whose very spirit is present in the person of the man who sits and talks to a Samaritan woman and says, the one you’re really searching for, the one for whom you really thirst, the one you’re waiting for to fill your life to change everything is none other than the Messiah. And then she leaves the well and her empty jug behind and runs to tell the others. “Come and see.”

Did you notice that she left the jug behind? It’s the empty jar that’s perhaps most significant here because what she’s really thirsting for won’t be found in that well.[2]

Are you thirsty? I wish John told us her name; it’s known only to God. Maybe John wants us to put our own names in the narrative, if we could get beyond gender differences, of course. I think she stands for all of us who are thirsty for something more, but not really sure what it is. Or maybe, she represents people who think that their thirst can be satisfied one way, only to discover that they’re all the more empty inside, something is still missing.

Are you thirsty? It’s tough to know for us. We have such a odd association with water today. Sure we know it’s the foundation of human existence, but, until recently we just assumed it will always be here. We took it for granted. Just turn on the faucet. The water supply for Atlanta last fall was dangerously low. The earth is losing water, fast. The vice-president of the World Bank, Ismail Serageldin, warned that the next world war will be over water, not oil. Where it might seem we have enough, it can’t be used. In the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” Coleridge (1772-1834) was perhaps prophetic when we wrote, “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water is readily accessible for direct human use. Every 15 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease. Unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene cause 88% of all diseases [3]

Have you ever really been thirsty? I haven’t. Do we even know what thirst feels like? We know we need our eight glasses of water per day. Some of us are obsessed with being hydrated. We walk around with our water bottles everywhere we go (like me, but at least I try to recycle all of my bottles). We don’t know what it’s like to be dependent upon water. For many, our living water might be a beer or cappuccino or our favorite carbonated beverage. Listen to the words of this ad: “Thirst is harder to satisfy – really satisfy – than most anything else in the world. You can slake it for the moment with most any wet thing, but just when you think it’s all right, it bobs up serenely again with a cry for more. Water, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, sweet drinks, sour drinks – none of them quite does the work. There’s just one thing that we know of that actually will quench a tantalizing thirst and that is Coca-Cola: The Satisfactory Beverage.” This was a Coke ad in 1908.

What does it mean to really thirst? If we don’t understand thirst or being daily dependent upon water, I wonder if it’s really possible to enter fully into the world of this text. It seems to me that our inability to know what physical thirst feels like hinders us from recognizing the deeper soul-thirst we all have. That’s why mystics and monks often fast – intentionally give up food and drink for a period of time – in order for their bodies to reflect and connect with a deep, interior hunger that food will never provide and a thirst that all the water in the world will never slake. Sometimes our trips to the well are really only masking our real thirsts. In our society where we are cursed with so much and think we have everything we need, it’s difficult for us even to admit that we lack anything, that we need anything or need anyone, that we really need a community of faith – that we even need God.

Unless we come to terms with what we lack and acknowledge our need, unless we see just how parched we are, how can there really be any need for the “living water” Jesus offers? What more can he give us than we already have? Perhaps the critical question is this: what will it take to leave your jug at the well?

[1] Quoted in Calvin Theological Seminary’s Center for Excellence in Preaching: http://cep.calvinseminary.edu/thisWeek/viewContent.php?iID=135&sID=1

[2] Cf. the quotation from the worship bulletin: “If I had a water thirst,” replied Sancho, “there are wells on the road where I could have quenched it.” Miquel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), Don Quixote.
[3] Statistics found at: www.water.org.

10 February 2008

Letting God be God

Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-17 & Matthew 4:1-11

First Sunday in Lent/10th February 2008

Jesse realized he needed to go on a diet. It was going to be difficult. Just to make sure he would succeed, he announced his plan to all his friends and co-workers ahead of time. Jesse was a kindred spirit with Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) who once said, “I can resist anything – except temptation!” Jesse’s co-workers were pretty good about giving Jesse moral support, until the morning he walked into an office carrying a box of freshly-baked donuts. “What’s with the donuts, Jesse?” one of them asked. “I though you were on a diet.” “I am,” Jesse said. “But I want you to know I wouldn’t have gotten these donuts if it weren’t for God.” That remark demanded an explanation and it came quickly, “You see, I was driving into work, and I knew I’d have to go right past the bakery. I just couldn’t get those donuts out of my mind – so I decided to pray to God for help. I said, ‘God, if you want me to have a box of hot, delicious donuts, give me a parking place right in front of the bakery. Sure enough, I found one – on my eighth trip around the block!”

We can rationalize anything, including the strongest of temptations, and even call on God to help us in the process. It’s true, isn’t it? We can be as crafty as any serpent in justifying our actions. Oh we are smooth and slick as we slither our way around what we ought to do and ought not to do. “I’m not living a greedy lifestyle of over-consumption; I’m just pursuing the American dream” – even more so now knowing those rebate checks will soon be in the mail. “I’m not hurting anybody when I cheat my customers; I’m just following the laws of the marketplace.”

We know what tempts us. Most of the time it’s not so much the bad or even overtly evil things that really tempt us or lead us astray, as it is the good things, or at least the things that appear to be good. Something as good as a piece of fruit or a donut can lead us off course. Beauty’s enticement, “a delight to the eyes,” (Gen. 3:6) can cause us to fall. Even the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge can have disastrous results. A character in Charles Baudelaire’s (1821-1867) short story “The Generous Gambler” (1864), recounts the only time he was ever truly afraid. It was when he heard a preacher shout from the pulpit, “Dearly beloved, never forget, when you hear anyone vaunt the progress of enlightenment, that the Devil’s finest trick is to persuade you that he does not exist.” The greatest evils, the most dangerous temptations are not the overt ones, but the covert ones, the hidden and seemingly simple, subtle, innocent acts that cause us to stumble. Comedian George Carlin once said, “I’m not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a part of hell will break loose. It’ll be much harder to detect.”

But Genesis 3 is about more than the dangers of giving into temptation, of what happens when we submit to temptation, whether it’s fruit or a donut. Sure, we can plumb the depths of this Genesis text and discover all the ways we might resonate with Adam or Eve or maybe even the serpent, and then hold this story up in order that we, and especially our children, learn from them, primarily from their mistakes. Here is what we ought not to do. That’s one’s common way to look at this text. Indeed, these early chapters in Genesis slowly evolved into little more than a morality play, that is, a story showing us how God expects us to behave and if we don’t follow the rules we’ll be judged accordingly – indeed, have been judged, thrown out of the garden and forced to live forever east of Eden. In many ways, this is how the church has interpreted this story across the centuries: that there are consequences for our actions. Of course there are. But there’s more than ethics going on in this text.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter: Did God really consign the entire human race to a perpetual state of sin purely because some prehistoric ancestor swiped a piece of fruit?[1] Think about it. Is this what we’re saying actually caused the fall of humanity, this one act with eternal consequences? Why didn’t God just forgive them, for surely God foresaw what the future was going to be? Why did that one act lead God to curse them and cast them off from paradise? It all seems kind of petty and even small on God’s part. Did so much hang on that one act? One slip-up followed by a slippery-slope of sin winding its way down through the centuries? Centuries upon centuries of blame, of blaming the ones who have come before us, centuries of saying “It’s not my fault.” “The devil made me do it.” It’s Adam’s fault or Eve’s fault. Centuries upon centuries of blaming women for everything that is wrong in the world and all the evil in the human heart. Theologians actually used this text as proof that women are morally and intellectually inferior to men. Women are “the weaker sex,” because if a man had been there at the moment by the tree, strong-Adam would not have yielded to temptation – yeah, right.

Sin is in the world because Eve picked a piece of fruit? Is this what we really believed is the cause of all the sin and evil in the world? Don’t say, Yes, too quickly. Because if you believe this then think about what you’re saying about God. You turn God into a petty, vindictive ruler, with an almost masochistic sense of justice. It’s a cruel picture of God. And yet, to a considerable degree, this is the image that we’ve inherited misreading this text. Robert Burns (1759-1796) parodies this belief in “Holy Willie’s Prayer,” the prayer of a Presbyterian minister who declares all “deserve [such] just damnation/ For broken laws./ Five thousand years ‘fore [our] creation,/ Through Adam’s curse.”[2]

We’ve misread this portion of Genesis, along with the Creation accounts because we assume this is a story of origins: the origin of the universe, the origin of humanity, and the origin of sin and evil. We often turn to Genesis to explain how we got here and got ourselves into this mess. And it’s precisely this kind of reading that has messed us up even more. I think we should shift the emphasis. Genesis is not answering the question how, so much as it’s answering the question what; less a question of why, so much as an answer to the question what. It’s making a statement – about what the creation is, about what it means to be human, and human in relation to God, which allows us to see the “what” of sin and evil.

The key to the text is the prohibition against eating fruit from the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.” But what’s wrong with knowing the difference between good and evil, you’re probably asking. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to know? Why would God get mad at swiping some fruit? The serpent knows the answer. The serpent doesn’t tell a lie. What he says isn’t false, it’s true. But the serpent fails to tell the whole truth. He withholds a portion of it. It’s like any article in The Presbyterian Layman, they never quite tell the whole truth; about 80% of it is correct, but it’s the missing 20% that makes all the difference, that’s so destructive in its consequences.

The Hebrew word for “knowledge,” yada, means more than cognitive knowledge. It also means an awareness of judgment, of justice. To eat from this tree means to know enough to judge and judgment belongs to God alone. To eat of this fruit one becomes like God and in reaching for the status and authority of God is to reach beyond what is allotted to us. The fruit is a symbol, a metaphor, a mythic way to get at the truth, to say something profound about the human condition. The point is this: we are fallen, flawed creatures, inflicting untold damage and destruction upon this world, ourselves, and others. Not because of one foolish act a long time ago that we’re paying the price for. But because this foolish act is repeated, as it were, almost daily. We could say Adam is Everyman (“adam” is actually plural, it’s not a proper name, and means “of the earth or dust”) and Eve (which means “life”) is Everywoman. We could also say that Adam and Eve are both in every man and woman, earth/dust/soil come alive by the ruach or spirit of God.

The Genesis story says something profound about what it means to be human in order to help us see the mess that we’re in. Their humanity is ours. Their DNA is our DNA. Their fatal flaw is our fatal flaw, and it’s this: it’s our unwillingness to be human, to be creature, to live with limits and our unwillingness to allow God to be God. It is the desire to become more than we are. That’s the source of sin.

The human condition is sinful. It doesn’t mean that we’re thoroughly bad, because we’re not; neither is this statement meant to make us depressed and full of guilt. This is a gracious text to help us acknowledge the source of our sorrow, then confess that there is something about being human that won’t remain satisfied with being human. Sin is a force within and without us that tempts us to overreach, and every time we overreach by trying to be little gods, we fall. We can even be tempted by the good – but aren’t we supposed to be good as God is good, be like God? we might ask – yet it’s that reach, seemingly so innocent, that can become so harmful. Terrible things happen when we try to play God or think we’re God.

We sin when we forget that our thoughts are not God’s thoughts and our ways are not God’s ways. When we try to act like God, we will fall every time. When we prefer to judge others instead of letting God judge, we fall. When we make decisions that adversely affect the lives of others, we make judgments about life and death, which we don’t have the authority to make, and so we fall. Sin is not letting God be God, refusing as creature to live within our limits, refusing to be dependent upon the Creator, assuming control over everything. Refusing to trust God, we take matters into our own hands with monstrous results. We’re not paying the price today because Adam and Eve “fell” a long time ago. Adam and Eve are in here, in our hearts, and when we act like them, humanity falls and falls and falls again.

How we view what took place in Eden inevitably shapes how we understand what Jesus experienced, for us, in Jerusalem, and affects the way we understand ourselves as we continue to live east of Eden. Lent is a good time to explore these questions – which we have only begun to explore this morning.

To receive ashes at the start of Lent is to acknowledge our mortality, which is another way of confessing our limits, which is another way of remembering what it means to be a creature, to be human, to live, even with our flaws, without trying to become like God.[3] So much pain and suffering and evil in the world are due precisely to this overreach.

Here we can learn from Jesus. On the cross, Jesus took on this destructive force within us in order to wrestle us free from it and to defeat its power. That struggle began in the wilderness. That’s what Satan was trying to do to Jesus in the wilderness. Satan was telling the truth to Jesus, but not the whole truth. To give into those temptations would have meant that Jesus reached beyond his own humanity. He, too, knew his limits. In this sense Jesus was without sin and in doing so, here and throughout his life, graciously demonstrated for us what authentic humanity looks like, which includes, among so many other wonderful things, letting God be God. His grace within us allows us to do the same.

[1] I am grateful to the Rev. Dr. Carlos Wilton, minister of the Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church, Point Pleasant, NJ, for succinctly and beautifully capturing the critical question posed by this text and for sharing his exegesis of this lection at the Homiletical Feast lectionary study group in Bradenton, FL.
[2] Presbyterian theologian, B. A. Gerrish, makes the point that original sin “does not mean that we suffer for Adam’s sin, but that others must suffer for our sins.” From his sermon “Sin” in The Pilgrim Road: Sermons on the Christian Life, Mary T. Stimming, ed. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000), 89.
[3] Cf. the quotations from the worship bulletin: “This is the time of tension between dying and birth.” T. S. Eliot (1889-1965), “Ash Wednesday.” And, from the Heidelberg Catechism of 1562, the first question: “What is your only comfort, in life and in death? That I belong – body and soul, in life and in death – not to myself, but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ….” Book of Confessions, PCUSA.

03 February 2008

When Everything Comes into Focus

Matthew 17:1-8
Transfiguration of the Lord/3rd February 2008

There are moments when everything comes into focus, when everything becomes perfectly clear, moments of searing insight and brilliance which change everything. I once was blind, but now I see, I see – and nothing, no one will ever look the same again. We thought we knew who Jesus was, we thought we had him figured out, but here on this holy mountain, we come to see who he really is. The sight of his transfiguration transfigures our eyes and thoughts, our ears and our hearts. For the core of his being shone through the radiance of his face and he became dazzling, like a flame, with the intensity of pure, white, blinding light. In the midst of the cloud overshadowing Jesus, we hear a voice, “This is my Son, my Beloved; with him I am well pleased: listen to him!” A voice that threw the disciples to the ground, overcome by fear. Then Jesus goes over and touches, touches them – in their fear – and said, “Get up and do not be afraid.”

Three imperatives. One from God – “Listen to him” meaning the Son. And from the Son, these two encouraging, compassionate commands, “Get up,” followed by “do not be afraid.” Of all the times I’ve read or preached on this text, I’ve always focused upon God’s command, “Listen to him.” But this week, something else hit me. After reading a particular text during Bible study, I tend to ask this question: “So, what struck you in this text?” How did the Word strike your heart, move your spirit, speak to you? It’s always fascinating to see how the Spirit moves through us through a text. This week, what struck me were these words: “Get up.” “Do not be afraid.”

But why were they afraid? Wouldn’t you be? I would. The natural response to the glory of God’s presence is fear. We can call it holy awe, if it makes us feel better, yet there is still a sense of fear – more like ego-shock, perhaps, an awareness of someone completely Other, an overwhelming Other before whose presence we know we have no right to stand on our own, and so we fall down on our knees and cover our faces before the Holy of Holies.

When God moves in our lives it can be a fearful thing (which is why we resist God, but not for long). It’s fearful because facing God inevitably costs us something, namely our control over reality and our lives. Get mixed up with this God and you discover there’s more going on in the world than what meets the eye (and why our sight always need transfiguring). It’s fearful because this God might actually ask me to do something that’s simply too big for me to do, to become someone I know I’m not on my own, to go somewhere I would rather not go, that doesn’t appear safe, to embark on a journey that I would probably prefer not to take. To encounter God means fundamentally that our lives will change, they will be different. They have to change. If they don’t then it’s probably safe to say we haven’t encountered God. Kierkegaard (1813-1855) said, “Once you wise up, you can’t dummy down.” For after encountering the presence of God in the face of Jesus Christ how can you go back to normalcy? What is normal after that?

Being normal (which Presbyterians like to do), safe, or secure have nothing to do with being a disciple – and this text on the Sunday before the beginning of Lent is all about what it means to be a disciple, a student in the school of Jesus, a follower of Jesus Christ. Fear is never the ultimate reality for the disciple; we are called to live beyond fear – and that’s tricky. Being a disciple isn’t easy, it’s very difficult. To follow inevitably involves a cost. Therefore, it requires courage – courage to see, to look at, to acknowledge the radiance of God in the face of Jesus Christ – and not deny it – and then live with all of its life-changing ramifications.

How do we get the courage to step out and live as if God is really God, that Christ is Lord of our lives, and to listen to him, that this world and our lives within it belong not to ourselves, but to him – in order that our lives might be used by him for the glory of God, which is really what our souls long for more than anything else. Courage. In a speech given in 1922 at St. Andrews University, J. M. Barrie (1860-1937), of Peter Pan fame, said to a generation of youth disillusioned after the Great War, “Courage is the thing. All goes if courage goes.”
[2] Do we have the courage to listen, to really be disciples, to go where he leads?

No. We don’t. Courage to be a disciple? No, we don’t. On our own, we don’t. If we have to trust our own inner resources to try to dredge up courage, then this is just a kind of works righteousness, trying to earn our salvation, acting as if God had nothing to do with it all, relying only on ourselves – that’s a horrifying way to live a life.

But Jesus went over to his disciples in their fear and trepidation and touched them and said, “Get up.” “Get up.” “Get up and do not be afraid.” Fear not.
Get up and follow, free from binding fear because the Lord of love has touched you and assures you that you can. Get up and follow, beyond the bounds of fear because his grace summons us to do so. And the one who commands also equips us with the courage to follow. Get up and do not be afraid because it’s the Lord who tells us so – and he can be trusted.

It’s the same Lord who invites us to come to his table. Set your fear aside. Share the bread of grace and drink the cup of courage, which allow us to listen to him and to follow wherever he leads.

[1] Cf. quotation from the worship bulletin: “…the Lord is more constant and far more extravagant than it seems to imply. Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don’t have to bring a thing to it except a willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it?” Reverend John Ames in Marilynne Robinson’s, Gilead: A Novel (New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2004), 245.
[2] J. M. Barrie, Courage. The Rectorial Address delivered at St. Andrew’s University, May 3, 1922. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1922), 40.