I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what God will say to me. – Habakkuk 2:1 (NRSV)
At the end of one of my favorites of my grandfather’s sermons, he shouted:
“Even if you stand alone, stand!”
My grandfather was the kind of man people described as “fearless.” He was not known for backing down or for taking the safe routes to which his colleagues clung.
I know those colleagues. The ones who interpret the Gospel and cling to the via media. The ones whose congregations will excoriate them if their leaders don’t take the “middle road” as defined by … the most “generous” voices in the congregation who give to the status quo. I know what it feels like to stand in the middle of that stream, currents pulling past us at neck-breaking speed while we struggle to find footing, tread water, a way to stay in it with air to breathe.
Who do we need to stand with us?
When the *@#& hits the storm, when everything seems to be falling apart and we feel completely isolated: who do we need with us?
At the watch post, the question is less “Who is there?” than “Who sees what is coming?” Some of us know and what we know is … overwhelming. The human response of being overwhelmed can clash with the perception of the prophetic response of what to do in the moment. Knowing can be the very thing that makes it difficult to stand.
Here’s what we know from Habakkuk: on the ramparts, God speaks. You may not know what God has to say. This may mean that you are not on the ramparts.
Find your way there even if you have to do it alone. And in so doing, find God, who is the maker of ways out of no way.
God, give me the footing to stand on the ramparts with you, no matter what.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.