Summary: People of great courage.
(Begin with “Daddy’s Day At School”)
Although our lectionary readings for today focus on the theme of marriage and family, I’ve decided to respond to a request I received last Sunday from the “Wish List” cards to prepare and deliver a sermon about courage.
When I reflect on the theme of courage, many images come pouring into my thoughts.
So many images came pouring in that it was difficult to decide which “story” of courage was the most important.
I decided that they were all important, and since we are in a worship setting, I’ll begin with the Biblical images first.
Daniel in the Lion’s Den is probably a familiar image.
To recall the story, Daniel was appointed to rule along with 2 other administrators over 120 governors throughout King Darius’ kingdom.
Daniel distinguished himself by his exceptional qualities, so the king planned to put him in control of the entire region.
But the other governors were jealous of the king’s decision.
They tried to find some dirt about Daniel, but could find none.
Daniel was without corruption and was without negligence.
He was totally trustworthy.
So the governors finally said, "We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God."
6. So the administrators and the governors went as a group to the king and said: "O King Darius, live forever!
7. The royal administrators, prefects, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.
8. Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered--in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed."
9. So King Darius put the decree in writing.
10. Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
11. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.
12. So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: "Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or man except to you, O king, would be thrown into the lions’ den?" The king answered, "The decree stands--in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed."
13. Then they said to the king, "Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day."
14. When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.
15. Then the men went as a group to the king and said to him, "Remember, O king, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed."