Today I had a high school bible study and we read Acts 3-4. We discussed a variety of things concerning those chapters (and the previous ones), but in the end we focused on courage and being bold in our faith. After Peter and John were arrested for proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, I'm sure a lot of followers were fearful they, too, would be arrested. So they all prayed for boldness in faith and in preaching it.
I asked the group who or what is an image of courage for them, and they didn't have many answers... have our youth become complacent to what real courage is? Heck, courage in general? Do they not have anyone in their lives who stand up for something, or do they just not realize courage when they see it? The first two people who come to mind for me are my brother and my friend John, who both served in the military and did tours in Iraq. I have high regard for our brothers and sisters serving in the military. But even praying outside of Planned Parenthood clinics is an act of courage. Those who defend the faith do so courageously.
When asked what they could do to be more courageous, one high school senior said that nothing comes to mind because today we aren't asked to die for our faith. He mentioned it's only little things we do. He didn't realize that even doing those little things can be seen as acts of courage (until I mentioned it to the group). We did talk about praying before meals out in public; about half the group does so on occasion. It is in the little things that we can be courageous. Heck, sometimes I feel that even wearing my cross and miraculous medal around my neck is an act of faith that some might look down on.
How do we teach this generation about courage? We listened to the song "Courageous" by Casting Crowns, and the lyrics that stick out to me are: We were warriors on the front lines, standing unafraid, but now we're watchers on the sidelines, while our families slip away. We have forgotten the real reason for Church and worship and I know I even have times of complacency in my own life. It's time to be courageous.