Fear is something that we all experience. Whether it is something simple like going to the dentist or something horribly frightening. I don’t know about you but I can keep turning my fears over to God and then immediately pick them back up. Sometimes I just don’t want to think about them and don’t share them in my prayers. “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” is a quote from Franklin Roosevelt and it is so true. Experiencing fear is what causes us distress. Let go of that fear. Turn it over to Jesus in your prayers. He can handle it.
Jesus promises that he will meet us in the experience of fear. He tells us, “remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Tell Jesus about your fear. If you’re afraid even to talk with Jesus about your fear, then start there: why it is that you are afraid to talk to Jesus about your fear? Tell him! Jesus is all ears. Jesus has an open heart. And he is waiting.
There are so many divisions that separate people. We will join a cause…one that seems just to us and forget that we are to love the people on the other side. Injustice calls us to take sides but we can’t forget that on the other side are people that Jesus accepted and loved.
With so many divisions, many of them violent, it is not only hard to not take sides but also to see the other side as being human like us.
Jesus has mad it clear that there is no other choice. He does not ask us to forget about injustice. He calls for us to end violence and hatred but at the same time forgive and love those who we would easily chose to hate.
Today the scripture assigned for the day talk about Mary and Martha and the death of Lazarus. Be aware as you read this scripture that Mary and Martha expected Jesus to come when they sent for him. Jesus love them and their brother and surely Jesus would come right away. Instead they waited for 2 days. They waited as we are waiting now for something to change. They waited and Jesus came and their grief was removed by the raising of Lazarus. They waited and in the end all was well. We must do the same. In the end:
• All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. Julian of Norwich
John 11New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Death of Lazarus
11 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent a message to Jesus,[a] “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6 after having heard that Lazarus[b] was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus is God translated to us as we would translate a book. He makes God visible. His many examples of God’s kingdom teach us the way. The parables so clearly show the Kingdom of God. Jesus taught so that we would understand. There are many references to Jesus’ teachings on this. Here are just a few.
I really think this section of Romans says it all. We don’t need to add to it …just follow it.
Marks of the True Christian
9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.[e]12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;[f] do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 1
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
This is such a radical statement.Who really wants to be a servant. Maybe the servants in some British show like Downton abbey enjoy what they do but not all of them.They even had a pecking order.Yet this is what Jesus calls us to do.I have always loved the hymn called the servant song.I especially like the verse that says I will be the Christ light for you in the night time of your fear.
God has plans for us. these plans include us having a better understanding of how we should live. Telling us has not worked so God decides to SHOW us. He leaves heaven to become a man…a man who lives the life that we need to live. He did this for us. Now we need to follow that man in everything that we do.
Jesus said: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
This sounds pretty scary. Something like some of the climate changes that we are seeing now. This could be a projection from the climatologists. For many centuries there have been prophecies about the end of things. Many have come and gone. We are still here.
The people of Jesus’ time expected him to return in their lifetime. That didn’t happen. Will it happen? We don’t know. We can only live in our belief that he will come in glory. Whether we will see it in our time no one knows. It doesn’t matter. The point is when He does come it will be a time for rejoicing. He will come again.
Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. Saint Augustine
We can pray to God and know that he will hear. We can depend on God. But we can’t sit back and do nothing. We are God’s hands and feet. Jesus didn’t just sit and expect people to come to him. He traveled, he reached out to the homeless, the downtrodden, the sick. He couldn’t have done that sitting in his home. He had to go out. We have to do the same. Sitting in the pew in church is a good thing to do but that is not our major task. We have to go out of the door and follow the steps of Jesus as he walked among the people.