A determined cardinal on a break
from her persistent knocking.
Photo by Mandy Garcia
"Thanks to his perseverance,
there are no more barriers
between us and God's love."
Photo by Brethren Volunteer Service
by Matt DeBall
A few weeks ago, a spring cardinal moved into a courtyard at the General Offices. I know this because she immediately started flying into a window outside my office. For more than a week she persisted, knocking on the glass over and over again.
Our winged visitor reminded me of others who found themselves stuck on the outside of a calling. Joseph had a dream of being blessed by God, but repeatedly experienced injustice. Moses saw God’s vision for Israel, but received repeated “NOs” from Pharaoh and insults from his own people. Esther had a fervent hope that her people would be saved, but faced ridicule and death.
As Easter approaches, we remember that even Jesus had to break through walls as he faced an oppressive government and corrupt religious leaders. Yet he persisted, giving all of himself to display the power of God’s kingdom. Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus broke down the walls of captivity, injustice, and religious arrogance. Filled with heavenly power, Jesus broke through walls of separation and made God’s kingdom accessible to all. Thanks to his perseverance, there are no more barriers between us and God’s love.
It might be a stretch to compare biblical heroes to the stubborn cardinal in the courtyard, but I can’t help but be inspired by the consistency they seem to share. The people around Joseph, Moses, Esther, and Jesus must have thought they were chasing impossible dreams. But their diligence and tireless faith can remind us to stay the course, even when it feels hopeless; to focus on God’s kingdom despite the pain, selfishness, and destruction in our world.
Through our service and speech, we can help to usher in God’s transforming peace, love, and mercy. Sometimes it may feel like we’re hitting our head against the same wall over and over again, but we must not give up. We must keep knocking, because through Christ all things are possible. Through the power of the Spirit, we will find a way. Through the grace of God, we will surely break through.
Matt DeBall is a member of the Donor Communications team for the Church of the Brethren. He can be reached with questions about special offerings, eBrethren, the Stewardship Lending Library, and personal financial resources at email@example.com .
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Brethren Volunteer Service worker Bryan Hanger at a booth at Ecumenical Advocacy Days in March.
Photo by Christy Crouse
“As the Body of Christ, we are each
intimately connected to each other,
and with each doing its part we not only
can do more than we could on our own,
but we create a community that
lives out and embodies Christ’s
new transformative reality.”
—Bryan Hanger in “Living our way into
a new way of thinking," a recent
Brethren Volunteer Service blog post.