Grace and Peace to you, beloved
Abandon your fears
Cradle your soul in childlike faith
Leap into the Loving Presence
Of the One who Welcomes All,
Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord
There is this unseen force that drives us
Away from the loving presence of the Creator God
Diverting us instead into this unbreakable cycle of fear
Fear, which grips and shapes us as human beings
Fear has the potential to dominate our journey
(share with the congregation about what fear grips me regarding the very real night terror I had as a child before my family and I went on vacation. The plane that we were traveling on went down in flames and I could hear the screams. I woke up visibly upset and tearful. My mother upon hearing my night terror gave me the option of not going perhaps, but I went with huge trepidation. Nothing happened; I’ve been on planes since then but few and far between; each moment I have heard of some ridiculous and horrible plane crash I vow to find an alternative route, and usually do. Share about Wendy who is a Ph.D student and flight attendant who has recently told me, it is her goal to get me onto a plane; Share about all the solutions that other people have jokingly shared with me, from medicinal to therapy to having conversations with actual pilots. Pause before asking the congregation about their fears).
What fears weight you down,
My sisters and brothers in Christ?
What fears peel away the layers of joy from your very being?
Or are we too afraid to name them?
Can you share your fears in this sacred space?
(Ask the congregation to name some of the fears that they may have and affirm all of the answers. Pause before continuing).
We are not alone
In the fears which haunt us
There are fears in this room that are even too deep for words,
For speaking them into being,
Would place a harsh spotlight upon ourselves
Where we would be bathed in colors
Of selfishness and foolishness
I wonder what fears were manifesting
In the midst of the conversation
Of these foolish disciples
as they were arguing
Who among them was the greatest?
Jesus reminds them again
In our Gospel text this morning
That this path towards forgiveness
Was littered with the stark reality of changes,
“The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands,
and they will kill him…”
This was not their ideal march towards glory triumphant
(As I was) Reminded of a clip from the movie Glory yesterday
Comes the realization,
That greatness comes through giving up of oneself
For those who have nothing
Who have been robbed
Of anything resembling power.
What fears deprive us
From being connected from who Jesus Christ is
And what Jesus holds for us?
This common theme of fear
And having no faith
is apparent throughout the Gospel of Mark
lived out through the disciples
But what would you do,
If you were there?
Even as a disciple, we must remember
That they were human first
Fears of not being able to feed 5,000,
They hadn’t a clue about leaning on their faith
Even as they had witnessed the miracles from Jesus
(these) Feas of not trusting in Jesus
in the midst of calamity and storms
Forgetting that Jesus would never leave them
Or forsake them
(The) Fear of not trusting the power that Jesus was and is,
They were still blinded to God’s Mighty Power flowing
Through Jesus Christ
Fear of going down an unknown road
They were more worried about securing their place
Setting up that Plan B, C and D
Just in case this whole Jesus deal fell through
Fear of hearing the truth
about how the Kingdom of God would come into being
Not understanding fully
That Jesus’s death is the Grace and Mercy
That both they and we are in need
They were too wrapped up in their fears,
To see that the resurrection shatters all of our fears
How scary is it for both the disciples and for us, beloved
When we are fearful because we do not have Jesus right here
To cling to
We are left to live out and proclaim the Good News?
What’s going to happen if we reach across the aisle
And actually engage in a conversation
with someone new in our community
someone who unexpectedly we are drawn to?
What happens if we reach across a sidewalk,
A street, A shelter,
To join hands with those who are the least of these,
To be recognized publicly as a witness with the least of these
What happens if we actually sit down,
Inviting someone to tell their story
Whose existence causes our spirits to weep
And yet, how their faith blossomed in the midst of hell
Renders us speechless
What happens if we kick open the doors of our church
And welcome conversation
With someone who is Muslim,
Who blesses and greets us into their midst
Because they love God just as beautifully as we do
Who shares prayers and wisdom to uplift us in this battle
Toward the beloved community
Or simply through the delight of children
Who are fascinated with Creation
Like through the eyes of a 14 year old Sudanese-American boy
Who just wants to share with us,
Something wonderful that he has done
To see the gifts of knowledge that pour from him
Because our hearts should be delighted
One day when the glory comes
It will be ours, it will be ours
One day when the war is won
We will be sure, we will be sure
Do you hear the Good News?
The Good News is that because God Loved US, beloved
“and after three days, he will rise again”
Jesus reminds us,
Proclaims to us
He will NOT LEAVE US.
He DID NOT LEAVE US
Our fears were crushed into dust
On that CROSS
Yes its okay to be fearful,
Because in those moments of fear,
Jesus Speaks to Us
Jesus Assures and Soothes Us
That HE IS THE ANSWER
Washing our fears away!
Do you hear Jesus calling us
Giving us the Power of the Gospel?
“Whoever wants to be first must be last of all
And servant of all.”
Do you hear Jesus charging us,
“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me..
Whoever welcomes me, welcomes not me..”
But GOD, The Creator
Who calls us to welcome the least of these-
Even you and me.
There will be no more fear,
We won’t have to worry about flying on planes,
Or the darkness
One day our fears will dissipate
Because the Risen Christ will be among us
Thanks Be to God.