This is a presentation I made to our adult education class, which is a six-week series based loosely on a 2007 book by Dr. Scott Beder-Saye called Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear. The first part of the presentation last week was by a clinical psychologist on fear - how it works and manifests itself in our bodies and our minds. We do have things to fear but often our fears are well out of proportion with the actual dangers. My part was to talk about the Christian response to fear.
Well before that, God said to Moses, fear not, for I am with you. And the prophet Isaiah said to all the people, fear not, for God is with you. And the angel said to Mary, fear not, for God is with you. And Jesus said, so, don’t worry about your stuff or even your life. Jesus says, leave things behind. Jesus says, be like the good Samaritan.
But if we reframe how we look at God’s activity in the world based on what we know about God through the person and story of Jesus of Nazareth (which is what we do as Christians), then we have to see resurrection at the center of God’s activity. God is about resurrection. But there is no resurrection without death, which in Jesus’ case, is brought about through fear. The Romans and the Jewish religious leadership were afraid of Jesus and they put him to death. That was not God’s doing.
But the resurrection WAS God’s doing. God is not about causing disaster, but God is always working to redeem disaster, to redeem death, to redeem brokenness and bring about something good.
Third, learn to be a people who take risks: If you believe that God will redeem even the worst thing that could happen; if you are embedded in a community of hope that will be there for you; then you can take risks.
We live in a world that tries to convince us that we must pursue safety first or else we are bad parents or bad children or bad teachers or bad spouses.