Sunday, 4 March 2012

Pause In Lent #2–Valour

A Pause in Lent Floss

The first Canadian Victoria Cross medal - produced by the Government of CanadaOther people tackled this one last week. My first thought was of the Victoria Cross, awarded for “most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.”

It is inscribed with the Latin tag ‘Pro Valore’ - ‘For Valour’

Then I thought about the times ‘valour’ occurs in Scripture. It usually comes as part of the phrase ‘mighty men of valour’ – such as in Judges, “the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto Gideon, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour” and a verse in 1 Samuel 10 [just after Saul has been anointed King of Israel] “Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched.” I couldn’t find any reference to valiant women [but I think Jael, Abigail and Esther come close –all amazingly brave women, true heroines]

I looked up a dictionary definition Valour: a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without showing fear

That made me think of Horatio Hornblower, C S Forester’s great naval hero. Depending on your age, your mental picture here will be Gregory Peck or Ioan Gruffydd …

hornblower peck

hornblower gruffydd

The amazing thing about HH is that inside he is terrified – yet on the outside he appears calm, and sure of his actions. He does not show his fear, and he commands the respect and trust of the men serving under him because they believe that he’ll get them through. They know that in the most difficult situations, they can rely on him to always do the right thing. I often find myself in a position where I am leading others –in the church, or the classroom. Can those with me rely on me like that?

valiant for truth

Others have quoted Bunyan’s Hymn “Who would true valour see” which many of us remember from the School Assemblies. It’s taken from Pilgrim’s Progress- it is the hymn sung by Mr Valiant-For-Truth.

I’m not good at ‘facing pain without showing fear’. My insides will be churning with anxiety this coming week at the dentist [and it is only a filling!]

But re-reading the passages where Mr V-F-T appears in Bunyan’s great work, I am greatly heartened. He speaks of those who tried to discourage him on his journey, and of the dismal stories of some of those who failed to become pilgrims – [with fabulous names] Obstinate and Pliable, Mistrust and Timorous, Turn-away and Old Atheist …

Mr V-F-T will not be put off though, and continues his pilgrimage towards the Celestial City. When Christiana [Pilgrim’s wife] is about to die, it says… “When she had spoken to her children, she called for Mr. Valiant-for-truth, and said unto him, Sir, you have in all places showed yourself true-hearted; be faithful unto death, and my King will give you a crown of life.”

I learned that verse from Revelation 2:10 when I was eight years old, and my Dad wrote it in my autograph book.

It is a tough old world out there. Men [no women as yet!] are awarded the Victoria Cross for extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy. I need to be valiant in the presence of evil, and faithful to my Saviour. I want to be like Mr V-F-T: travelling on, full of enthusiasm, growing stronger in my faith, and encouraged by the words of my friends who are with me on the journey. And remaining faithful to the Truth, the Good News of Jesus. That may mean being brave and being willing to defend my beliefs in the face of ridicule or opposition. It may mean making sacrifices. But as the great missionary, C T Studd said

If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.

5 comments:

  1. Good thoughts there - valour is not easy!

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  2. Yes, it will mean sacrifice and suffering. Jesus made that clear. Today at church the pastor talked about how odd it is that the cross is often worn in the manner of a fashion statement when in reality nobody would wear a silver electric chair or a small golden noose charm around their neck. It really got me thinking about my own entitled nature and of His great covering of grace. Thank you for a thought-provoking post, Angela.

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