It’s about all of us. We’re not in this alone. When Simon Peter was lost and afraid he went back to fishing – to what he’s always known, what brings him comfort – the rest of them went with him. He said “I’m going out to fish” and they replied “we’ll go with you.”
Fear is part of the human story. Their story is our story. We’re afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of who we don’t know, afraid that there’s not enough for us or that someone else will get there first. We’re afraid that we’re alone, afraid to speak out and stand up. Afraid of what comes next.
But God’s part in this story tells us differently. Ever since the beginning, God’s word says “don’t be afraid.”
If we march with Jesus, we choose an alternative to an oppressive and injust empire. If we walk with Jesus, we choose love as an alternative to violence and vengeance. if we stand with Jesus, we choose an alternative to feeling like we have to shoulder all the burdens alone.
Minister of Youth Music, Rachel Williams reminds us of the ways that God calls us to sing and dance even in the midst of sadness.
This is not the warm and fuzzy Jesus that I hope to find
What does it mean to be protected by God?
Stop holding onto to our worries about whether there is enough – enough food, enough things, enough possession and just be held by the God who knows what we need.
Stop holding on to our concern about whether we are enough – let go of our quest for power and prestige and glory and just be held by our God who loves us exactly the way that we are.
I’d like to suggest that it is the questions of faith that keep us going. I’m not implying that answers aren’t important, but there wouldn’t be any answers if we didn’t have any questions; and by the time we form a question, we have already begun to live into the answer.
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you”
Jesus can’t really mean that, could he? Just a few words to describe a complex deed.
It sounds so easy but feels so difficult.
“Love your enemies.”
Well, let’s assume, just for a bit, that there are no metaphors here – that Jesus is being straightforward about what we’re supposed to do. How do we do that? How do we dig deep enough to find a love deep enough to open our hearts to someone we think of as our enemy?
“One piece of teaching that’s sometimes given to preachers – at least progressive preachers – is that we are called to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” That certainly seems to be what Jesus is doing here. If you’re poor or hungry or sad or excluded, don’t worry – everything will be fine someday. But if everything seems to be going well for you today, watch out, bad times are coming.”