Fear, Faith and a Child Shall Lead them!

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

Amen.

 (pause)

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

(pause)

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?

Anxiety

Apprehension

Insecurity

Jesus reminds them again

In our Gospel text this morning

That this path towards forgiveness

Mercy,

Rebirth

Was littered with the stark reality of changes,

Potholes

and Pain.

“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

Denied

Of anything resembling power.

(pause)

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

(pause)

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

And now

To cling to

And instead,

We are left to live out and proclaim the Good News?

(pause)

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

(pause)

What happens if we kick open the doors of our church

And welcome conversation

And fellowship

With someone who is Muslim,

Who blesses and greets us into their midst

Because they love God just as beautifully as we do

Or Buddhist,

Who shares prayers and wisdom to uplift us in this battle

Toward the beloved community

Towards healing

(pause)

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

(pause)

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

Oh glory

(pause)

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

Resurrection GLORY!

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!

(pause)

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,

Commanding us

“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me..

Whoever welcomes me, welcomes not me..”

But GOD, The Creator

The Redeemer

Who calls us to welcome the least of these-

Refugees,

the homeless

The atheist

The agnostic

The loner,

The thief

The troubled

The lost

Yes, beloved

Even you and me.

(Pause)

One day,

There will be no more fear,

We won’t have to worry about flying on planes,

Or heights

Or mice

Or the darkness

Or pain

Or death

One day our fears will dissipate

Because the Risen Christ will be among us

In Glory.

(pause)

Thanks Be to God.

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