September 13, 2019
Oh, dear. I just realized that it’s Friday the 13th. Oh, my. If I was superstitious I would suddenly be afraid. That knot that means fear would rise in my stomach and I would run around trying to be sure not to step on any cracks or walk under any ladders, for fear of….
I’ve been thinking about the power of fear. Some fear helps us navigate through life, like fear of running out into traffic and things like that. Much of the time, though, fear is like an unseen bear or a hurricane in the desert – not likely to show itself but a powerful force anyway.
Recently, I read a novel about a woman who faced many challenges in her life, including life-threatening ones. One day she just decided that her many fears were not helpful in navigating her difficult life, so she simply put them away and refused to let them have power over her. She began to make decisions out of hope and love, including love for herself, rather than fear. Sometimes her fears still surfaced but she began to pray them away with a passage from Scripture, “do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you…” (Isaiah 41:10)
Efforts to inspire fear surround us today. Just listen and watch. Especially if you are spending too much time with 24 hour news on TV, you are likely to find yourself fearful about many things. If you spend too much time on social media, you may find yourself afraid. Then it’s easy to let fear have power over our decisions and our actions.
During September our sermon series is Finding Our Way in Our United Methodist Tradition and this Sunday, Sept. 15, I’m talking about Deciding about Matters of Faith – a Wesleyan Model. What does that topic have to do with fear? I’m going to talk about how we make decisions about matters of faith and about our lives. Since fear is so ever present nowadays, you can imagine that I’ll touch on that as a matter of faith.
Tomorrow, Sept. 14, a Special Annual Conference for the Desert Southwest Conference will be held in Phoenix to consider legislation that was left over from the June Annual Conference, and new legislation that could affect the future of the United Methodist Church. I could be afraid but I will have Jesus’ words on my heart, “Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid!” (Matthew 14:27)