This is a well-known gospel hymn. It was written by Philip P. Bliss, (1838-76) a Chicago Sunday School Teacher to teach his students about the Book of Daniel.
Although the hymn is about standing firm in your Christian beliefs I think the words of the chorus are applicable to us all as it talks about courage, a willingness to stand up and be different, often alone, for what we believe is a good purpose, to make that purpose known and to try and change the rules. In our world today we are under constant pressure to accept ideas and ways of doing things. It may be that deep down we do not agree with these ideas and methods but we don’t want to offend, to be the odd one out and it is easier to “go with the flow.” It takes a certain amount of courage to stand by your own convictions, especially if you are young, for we all want to be one of the crowd. How many people today smoke because their contemporaries do and how many go for a drink and pretend they like it when perhaps they don’t. “Oh come on, don’t be a spoil sport” is a phrase many of us have had said to us when we have demurred at taking a certain action. To be a vegetarian in a carnivorous society is difficult and how much easier to just eat the same as the others. We are always under pressure to conform to the ideas of others.
Parents have great control over how we grow up. They expect us to be just like them and they can be responsible for not allowing talents to develop and to stifle natural gifts. Then we have our religious leaders who will not let us make our own decisions about what we believe but tell us we must believe as we are told. There is a saying “God has no grand-children” which means we must all find God for ourselves and not inherit Him from our parents. Almost all Spiritualists today have turned away from established beliefs and the churches they grew up to attend. They have dared to be different and discover the truth for themselves. I think it takes courage to say you are a Spiritualist. How much easier to go to the local church with neighbours and friends. To push to the back of your mind beliefs of the church which you find unacceptable.
Yet it is those who have “dared to be different” and who have gone against the establishment who have brought about the greatest good in our society. Years ago society saw nothing wrong in sending small boys up the inside of chimneys to clean them. It saw nothing wrong in small children going underground to coal mines and sitting in the cold and dark to open gates for coal to be passed through. Lord Shaftsbury did. He dared to raise his voice against such practices and succeeded in getting a law passed to stop them. Dr Barnardo took pity on the homeless street children and created homes for them and inspired others to do the same. Florence Nightingale and her band of women spoke out against the appalling nursing of wounded soldiers and brought about changes in the nursing profession. Then we have Elizabeth Fry who started reforms in the treatment of prisoners and William Wilberforce who campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade. General Booth who founded the Salvation Army said it was important to feed bodies before feeding their minds. Of course the greatest “Darer” of all was Jesus! Born a Jew he dared to challenge his church officials that they had it wrong and that God did not want them to have all these petty rules and regulations. He paid for his daring and courage with his life but what a revolution he brought about in religious thinking. All of these people and many others like them dared to be different. They stood alone filled with a purpose to change the way of the world.
All spiritualists believe in the continuity of life. We know that there is no such thing as death ¬— it is just a doorway into the next world. We know that everyone goes into the next world — even animals — and that heaven is not reserved for the exclusive few who accept certain beliefs. We believe in a God of Love not of a God so filled with wrath that he demanded a human sacrifice to appease that wrath. We believe that we are personally responsible for our life and beliefs, that we alone will answer for wrongs committed and that eternal progress is available to all.
This is a wonderful message that we can bring to the world. Let us not be afraid of being different. Let us be willing to stand up for what we believe in and let us “Dare to make it known.”
Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known.
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