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Finding Faith: Invictus

By REV. BRYON REYNOLDS

The title word “Invictus” conjures up all sorts of images. One might think of a cologne for men by that name. Or a movie about Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartide revolutionary prisoner that aspired to the office of the president of South Africa, that starred Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Or a poem by William Ernest Henley.

But the Latin word “Invictus” literally means unconquered, or undefeated. When placed in the context of life and death becomes a powerful force within the soul of individual men, women, or children.

The poem reads:

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll:

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

The idea being that the human spirit is indomitable and resilient despite impossible odds. That dignity and courage are possible to hold onto in the face of death and/or with regard to the indignities of life’s challenges, or circumstances. What seemed impossible to the citizens of South Africa was for this nation divided to come together in support of the sport called Rugby.

President Mandela challenged the Springboks, the National Rugby Team, to win the World Cup in the current season by becoming more than they were as a team and play above themselves and push through their natural abilities; which forgave his tormentors and continued with a spirit of reconciliation to do the impossible; to unit a country divided by hatred.

The Springboks did win the World Cup by playing above themselves and giving back to the community by giving Rugby Clinics around the country. As I am writing this article, the Coronavirus (CoVID-19) has been in the news. The federal, state and local government agencies have imposed steps that are intended to reduce the spread of the virus.

I am thinking of the time of the year, not necessarily in the sense of the sport teams that will not be playing, but the season of Lent. How would it be if fear was changed to determination? And faith became the central theme of the suppression of this virus and death to cause us to rise above?

After all, God is the “Great Physician” and is able to do what seems to mankind impossible. I am looking forward to hearing of the wonderful accounts of what God has been doing in these dark days when we are confronted with such disbelief and the terror of the unknown. Let us rise above on this day… with our heads unbowed… standing unafraid through the tears… with unshakable faith… I am the master of my fate and the master of my soul.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Dr. Bryon Reynolds of Charlton Chapel, an American Evangelical Christian Churches Charter Church.

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