The Ferndale Fortitude (Vol. I No. 2, July 4, 2021)

Courage. Bravery. Boldness. These words come to mind as we celebrate the independence won for us by our American forefathers. The courage of our ancestors resulted in a country that the free call home, a land of the truly brave.

Ferndale is no stranger to bravery. Many of our own have followed in the footsteps of our forefathers. The VFW Kenneth Rasmussen Post 6353 and the American Legion Stuart Macklin Post 559 are testimonies to the bravery of Ferndale’s courageous children. The slideshow on display during the monthly pancake breakfast held at the Veterans Hall puts faces to the names of the bold, helping those of us not blessed to grow up in Ferndale appreciate that courage comes at a substantial human cost. Neighbors, friends, and family members have experienced real loss because courage is more than an idea. It is lived. Every one of Ferndale’s soldiers—those who came home and especially those who didn’t—reminds us that there are consequences to standing up for what is good, right, and true.

We are right to think of the Founding Fathers as brave. They put everything on the line so that man could live freely. We are right to think of Ferndale’s vets the same way. They exemplify Cream City’s courage. Likewise, we are right to live accordingly, exercising the same boldness that moved our patriotic predecessors and protectors to service.

Courage, bravery, and boldness convey an image of physical risk. One may think of heroes digging deep to overcome grave danger to life and limb, willing to die in service to others rather than cower to the fear in their hearts.

It is true for America, and it is true for Ferndale, that our fortitude is a fruit of the Christian faith. The steeples that extend above our village stand as constant reminders of the source of our courage. The crosses atop our bell towers teach attentive residents and tourists alike that our town once drew courage from the boldness of Christ who courageously suffered corporal punishment for crimes He didn’t commit to save the lives of others, we who are unworthy of His sacrifice.

Jesus was bold and His Word teaches His followers to be bold. The Greek word for boldness is parresia. Its basic definition reveals that boldness is not an attribute reserved for soldiers on the battlefield, nor was it unique to America’s Founding Fathers. It’s something everyone can live out in his daily life. Parresia (boldness) means to be able to say anything. That is, to be able to speak freely. That is the root of what it means to be bold. Heroic acts start with finding enough courage to verbalize what is true, not just when it’s popular, but even when it’s not (2 Tim. 4:1-5). In Classical Greek, parresia is used for the right to freedom of speech.

Boldly speaking the truth freely, even when it won’t be well-received, is the sprouting seed of bravery, which, when grown, enables a man to lay down his life for what is good, right, and true. We see this in Jesus. He was killed under the influence and unrest of public opinion, but not before He spoke against the false teachings that had corrupted His people. We see this in Ferndale’s fallen soldiers, too. Before our heroes displayed bravery on the battlefield, they spoke up as free men who were willing to preserve the rights of their fellow man because it is a good and true act of service to do so.

As we celebrate our independence, I pray that all of us who call Ferndale home will remember the courage of those who, for the sake of their neighbors, were not only bold enough to die freely but first learned to speak freely. May each of us dig deep and be bold. May we always speak freely against the lies that assault truth, the evil that attacks goodness, and the wrongs that corrupt what is right.

If you would like to learn more about how courage is a fruit of the Christian faith, you can reach me via the contact [page].

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Bramwell