Suggested scripture(s): Matthew 6:25-34; Luke 12:32; John 14:1-6, 25-27
Eight years ago, in 2014, I read an article on the Yahoo news site quoting an interview with a well-known economist saying that the economy was not as good as one might think. And even though it was officially declared that the most recent recession ended in 2009, this individual’s extensive analysis speculated that our country’s economy was technically still in recession.
He pointed to signs such as slowing sales in the housing market, people continuing to lose full-time jobs and having to replace them with part-time ones, or leaving the workforce altogether, and more. was distracted from my work that day as a pastor.
It then occurred to me that most people I know, regardless of their life circumstances, are nonetheless finding ways with God’s help to cope and even thrive in today’s world. today, despite the economy, wars and rumors of wars, global warming and health care. . I can discern this from those who seek to follow two pieces of advice from Jesus: Seek first the kingdom of God; and, Fear not…
It turned out that later that same day, eight years ago, I was also reading words online from a church newsletter that my wife and I used to pastor in the Arkansas.
They were written by the current pastor of the church about those things – our fears and the advice of Jesus. Read the thoughts of this Arkansas pastor below and see what you think. They still apply here in 2022 eight years later. I quoted Pastor Carl McCormack’s words in full because I can’t say it any better!
…it occurs to me that we all have things we fear. For some it is a fear of the future, or fear of the unknown; for others it may be fear of illness or cancer, fear of losing a job, fear of losing independence or financial security, or perhaps the ultimate fear of dead herself.
When we are alone, we are hesitant to turn off the lights, for in those dark and quiet times our fears come out of hiding to do their destructive work, robbing us of our peace and challenging our faith. When we finally decide we’ve cared enough and rise to face the bright light of a new day, our fears hide again.
We may try to ignore them, and throughout the day find things to occupy our minds, but we know that they are always there watching us and waiting for the cloak of darkness, when we are alone again, out of hiding to haunt our thoughts.
As Jesus’ ministry faced heavy criticism and strong opposition, he told his followers, “Do not be afraid.” As Jesus marched steadily toward Jerusalem to confront the government and religious leaders and to face the cross itself, he said, “Do not be afraid. . . for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Every day Jesus lived in the light of his Father’s good pleasure, showing the Kingdom wherever he went and whom he met. And Jesus calls us to open our eyes and recognize that the kingdom of God is here, that the exciting new world is surging all around us, and he invites us to follow it and embrace it with it.
The kingdom is not just a promise; it is a reality, here and now. We may not know where Jesus is leading us or what the future holds, and we may even be afraid, but we will not be alone. Jesus invites us to enter with him into this new reality. Along the journey, familiar landmarks remind us of our oneness with Christ and the people of Christ.
We can see it every time we approach the table of the Lord to receive the bread and the cup; each time the baptismal water flows over the head of one of God’s children; whenever we work together in harmony as a church family; whenever our common praise and prayer ascends to God in adoration; each time we offer our time and our treasure to the Lord; whenever we do something on behalf of the helpless and hopeless, we know we are being guided in the right direction and that we are not alone.
Alone we cannot control the things we fear, but together we can begin now to act boldly on this promise of Jesus. With the assurance of “our Father’s good pleasure” and his constant presence with us, we can rest assured that the light of God’s love will illuminate our troubled world and eliminate our nagging fears once and for all. It can be done. It has to be done. With God’s help, it will be done.