Tag Archive: fear


Safe

Hebrews 12:18-29  But you have come …. to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word…

There are two mountains, but one God. One mountain of awe, fear and trembling and another mountain with a joyful heavenly banquet. We are invited to encounter God, the God of both mountains. Sometimes I do think of Jesus Christ in a simplified, my BFF, kind of way. This passage in Hebrews dripping with imagery from all over scripture blended together evoking wonder reminded me of something C.S. Lewis wrote. Lewis was giving us the picture of God as the great lion Aslan. When the children, new to the world of Narnia, are being told about Aslan one of them asks,”Is he safe?” In response the beaver says, “Safe?”…. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

When we enter into worship, or dare to pray, or when we taste communion on our tongue, or watch the water drip down her head in baptism maybe a wider lens is needed. Yes, this God of grace invites us in love to come close, but we are coming close to the one who spoke and the armed band of soldiers coming to arrest Jesus fell back trembling in fear. We are coming close to the one who spoke and wind and waves calmed down. We are coming close to the one who spoke and seas split, starts and worlds were formed. We are coming close to the holy otherness of God.

I can’t promise that it is safe, but by the blood of the new covenant poured out for you and many I think I can say he is good.

Lord Jesus, thanks for making a way for us to encounter you. May we be changed as we come to know and love you more fully as God. Amen

Hopefully these crumbs from the sermon prep table are nourishing.Universal-Donor-title

Sent Out The Door

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

SUsan-door-open

Behind our doors of fear it is the resurrected Jesus appearing. The disciples afraid of being rejected by the Jewish leadership that rejected Jesus – they locked the doors afraid to be who they were called to be. The disciples afraid of failure because they saw a movement end in a cross and a confusing empty tomb which looked like failure – they locked the doors afraid to move forward to do what they were called to do.

The rejected Jesus appears behind our fear of rejection and doesn’t reject us. Jesus says “Peace be with you.” Showing off scars that no longer can be marks of failure, but marks faithfulness. God has redeemed those scars to now be glorious marks of freedom and forgiveness for all. Jesus appears behind the doors we lock because we are afraid of failing and we have our own scars that we think mark our failures. It is behind this door of fear Jesus says, “Peace be with you.”

Then the powerful thing about this passage is in the midst of the Son of God proclaiming peace over us, he also says “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  As we unlock the doors of fear because of Christ peace in our lives we are sent out as the Body of Christ to appear behind the doors of fear that our neighbors, family members, and friends find themselves hiding behind.

Thank you to all those who have shown up behind the doors of fear that I have often tried to lock in my life. Because of you I have been able to step out in love that casts out fear toward being who I have been called to be.

Lord Jesus, you who promised to give and leave your peace with us, may we go like you willing to appear in places of fear and lead in your ways of peace until your kingdom comes and your will is done.  Amen.

 

Behind the Door

Doors on StageIt was behind those closed doors of fear that the resurrected Jesus appeared and spoke words of peace. Yesterday in worship we reflected on Jesus proclaiming peace behind our doors of fear: fear of rejection, fear of failure, and fear of death.

My wife has a small group, Divine Inspiration, that meets once a month that uses art as a creative way of engaging the scriptures. They received the scripture and the basic metaphor of sermon last month. Here are some of the pieces that resulted from their encounter with the scripture and prayer.

 

Lord Jesus, may we hear your transforming proclamation of peace appear behind our doors of fear and send us out as a people of peace to go behind others doors of fear helping the world unlock and walk out the door. Amen

Thank God for the Hands

hnads 1195576_92868095I have had a very interesting time recently. A great friend of mine and I have sought to meet regularly for a time of prayer and confession. I confessed to him that I have been in fear. Fear that didn’t make sense in the midst of all that God has done and is doing. Fear that seemed uncommon and out of place for me. It had to do with fear about these next steps of the process of me becoming an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. My brother in Christ, with his hand on my shoulder, pronounced the sweet words over me, “In the name of our savior Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.”

A couple of days later during morning prayer I was reading Psalm 62 and it seemed that the words of God were just coming alive. That fear was melting away as I meditated on how God is my Rock, my refuge, my salvation. I was flooded with reminders of how God has radically provided for this journey. I was overwhelmed with a joy of knowing that God has a hold of me with his love and grace. My salvation is in Christ Jesus.

Recently my wife had asked many of our friends and family to pray for me and this next step of the process. [I am struggling for words to describe this next part] Even though I was alone at the kitchen table as I continued with prayer that morning I felt as if I were being lifted up on the hands of those praying for me.  The fear was beginning to be transformed as I felt surrounded and lifted up by the Body of Christ.

Later that day as I began studying in preparation for this next step something happened. It was like a beautiful switch went off. Freedom. Deliverance. For whatever reason, at some point in the prior weeks I began studying out of fear, but now I was studying from a place of liberty and joy. I was studying because these are the very things I want written on my heart. I want to know these things about God so well, that they just start dripping off my lips without my even thinking about it. I want to know this God revealed in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, His grace that goes before us, grace that justifies us, grace that transforms us and liberates us to know love, be loved, and to love.

I thank you God for the hands that proclaim forgiveness in your name. I thank you God for the hands that lift others up in prayer. I thank you God for your hands that break the chains of fear and bondage to sin. I thank you God for your hands that lift us up to know your grace and love. Amen.