Music & the Spoken Word: ‘Courage to carry on’

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This is an encore performance of “Music & the Spoken Word” with a new “Spoken Word” selected and recorded while the choir is practicing social distancing. This will be given Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021.

On Sept. 7, 1940, German bombers attacked London, England. They attacked again the next day. And the next. Over the following eight months, Londoners did their best to carry on normal lives, knowing that each day, “the odds that someone, somewhere in London would die were 100 percent.” Many of the air raids took place under the cover of darkness, making nightfall especially dreadful.

In all, 2 million homes were destroyed, and more than 40,000 civilians were killed. During this frightening time, a young boy was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. He answered, “Alive” (see “The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz” by Erik Larson, published in 2020).

Despite the damage the bombers caused, however, they failed in at least one of their missions: to demoralize the people. In fact, morale seemed to increase after each attack — people seemed more confident, more determined, and more willing to volunteer. When someone suggested to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that he had given the people the courage to carry on, Churchill responded: “I never gave them courage. I was able to focus theirs” (see “The Splendid and the Vile”).

Sometimes we hear stories like these and doubt whether we would be so courageous in similar situations. But that’s the curious thing about courage — we never really know how much we have until the time comes to use it.

And the fact is, our time calls for abundant courage. A deadly pandemic has swept across the globe. Wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes have wiped out neighborhoods. Many people have lost jobs, lost loved ones or struggled with loneliness. Others feel bombarded with one challenging day after another.

And yet deep within each of us is the courage to face these challenges, to stand firm, to keep going. Signs of such courage are all around us. We see it in expressions of love and appreciation between friends. We see it in the encouraging smile of a neighbor. We see it when strangers choose to put differences aside and serve someone in need. We see it when people around the world, from a variety of faiths, unite in prayer.

Morale is not spent during perilous times — that is when it flourishes! Courage cannot be given or taken away. Courage comes from within. And once focused, it gives us the power to carry on, no matter what.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, ksl.com, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the tabernaclechoir.org, youtube.com/TheTabernacleChoiratTempleSquare and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.com/viewers-listeners/airing-schedules.