In today’s lectionary readings, we have a section from the beginning of the letter of the apostle James, (ch. 1: 1-11) that speaks of perseverance. It’s a good reminder in these troubled times. What are we to do with our distress and uncertainty? The advice of James is similar to the book of Meg Wheatley entitled simply Perseverance, a book that is filled with helpful thoughts and encouragement. I offer her introductory statements and questions today as the kind of reflection that can keep us on a course of hope. See what you think.
The word “perseverance” in Latin means, “one who sees through to the end,” “one who doesn’t yield.” In English, it describes how we maintain our activity in spite of difficulties. Tenacity, steadfastness, persistence, doggedness — these are all common synonyms.
In Chinese, the character for perseverance is often the same as the one used for patience.
Human experience is the story of perseverance. Throughout space and time, humans have always persevered. We wouldn’t be here without them.
Think of all the people you know — family, friends, strangers — who have just kept going, who didn’t yield, who were tenacious, steadfast, patient.
How would you describe them? What were some of their traits? Their capacities? What was it like to be around them, to listen to their stories?
At the end of their lives, how were they?
Angry? Contented? Cynical? Peaceful?
What do their lives offer you as lessons on how to persevere?
What do we all need to learn from them now?