With the tragedy of the Chattanooga shooting, new faces are now counted among the heroes. Ohio Governor John Kasich tweeted: “Ohio has lost another hero. Prayers for Randall Smith of Paulding Co & his family.”
What makes a person a “hero”? Some people in the world consider the shooter to be a hero. Some of us call all military victims heroes, whether they died protecting a village of children or joining the military in general and having the terrible misfortune to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I believe we all have our heroic moments. We choose to stand up for the child in danger, to challenge gossipers, to protest when we see injustice done, to volunteer to defend our country, to spend our free time tending to under served people.
Because this is a churchy blog, I’m thinking about congregational heroes. We are sorely in need of heroes in every realm of human life. But our churches- as we move from being clubby institutions to spiritual communities to the glory of God – will not thrive without heroes among us. I talking about you . . .
- Church person who lives modestly so that you can financially support ministry beyond what most of your neighbors would expect.
- Church person who is older than 60, has been a Christian longer than 40 years, and has been a member of your particular congregation for longer than 20 years who leads the way in letting go of what’s dead and opening your arms wide for resurrection.
- Church person who remembers that you do not own your church building or the accoutrements therein.
- Church person who steps back when your term is over to let some fresh energy step in.
Being a hero is not the same as being a victim or a doormat or a martyr. Being a hero is about being our best selves, especially when we could be lazy, disengaged, or selfish. Imagine what this day would be like if we each acted heroically at least once in the next 24 hours. Imagine if we made the world about something higher, holier, more Christ-like.
It would be pretty great.
Image of the five victims of the Chattanooga shooting in hopes we will pray for their families today. From top left clockwise: David Wyatt, Squire K. Wells, Thomas Sullivan, Carson Holmquist, and Randall Smith.