I find myself thinking a lot about courage lately. Perhaps it is because of two instances in recent weeks where courage has been front and center. Several weeks ago, the Southeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA met virtually for our yearly synod assembly. This assembly was special this year, besides being the first virtual assembly, it also called for electing a new bishop for the synod as Bishop Burk is completing his second term and moving on to retirement. The process involves nominations from the people of the synod and agreement from the nominee to be placed on the ballot. The ballots are cast, and slowly the number of nominees is whittled down to seven, then three, then two candidates. Those who are nominated agree to be nominated with the understanding that God may be calling them to the position of bishop. They do so knowing that the Holy Spirit is in control. To be nominated requires vulnerability and the knowledge that only one person will be elected. To be nominated requires the acceptance that God is in control.
Last Friday, as I harvested some of the bounty from our little garden, I was surrounded by dozens of butterflies. The pollinator garden in the opposite corner of the yard, with phlox, butterfly bush, and milkweed all in bloom, was a nectar smorgasbord for the beautiful creatures. Spicebush Swallowtails in black and blue. Bright yellow Eastern Tiger Swallowtails and the orange of the regal Monarch and delicate American Lady wowed me. The beauty of creation, manifest in these creatures, was a sign of grace, pointing to God’s goodness.