The father, full of compassion, as we all would be at 3:00 in the morning, growled at his little six year old daughter “why are you here?” Through tears and sniffing the little girl said that she was afraid of the thunder and lightening.
It struck me anew that we are all afraid of something, and at some time in our lives, we all seek the comfort of another to help us through our distress.
Sometime in the next few days I would like you to open your Bibles to Matthew 10: 24-39. In this passage we find Jesus speaking about fear, and the cause of this fear, but also note that in the verses leading up to this passage we see Jesus sending his disciples out into the world to proclaim the Good News.
However, in doing this Jesus warns them that they may not be received as friends and fellow Christians. Jesus spoke of floggings, court trials, family conflicts and even death. And, if the disciples were going to encounter such opposition, how can they not be afraid?
Jesus reminded them as he reminds us that there are two kinds of fear: one is the fear of what might happen if we speak up – what will people say to me or about me if I say something?”, “will I be called a trouble maker or will they think that I don’t really know what I am talking about”?
The other is the fear of what might happen if we don’t say something when you see an obvious misjustice or something else that is wrong. Jesus says “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell”.
We should be active witnesses not because we fear God, but because we love God and want to share this love with others. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we can witness without fear because we know that the God of love is watching over us. This is the same God who sees all, even a sparrow who falls to the ground. This is the same God who even knows how many hairs we have on our heads.
God provided for his disciples and will provide for us. I am not afraid to witness because I know that God will help me to say and do the right things, and forgive me when I don’t!
As we go through the summer months I would ask you, the members of the congregation, to renew your relationship with God by asking God to use us as his disciples and to make us more responsive in our commitment to the needs of the church and to others. I would also ask God as the summer continues to enable us to witness to his wonderful creation in all that we do. May God bless you richly in his love for you and watch over you in all that you choose to do and enjoy this summer.