“Comfort ye my people, saith your God.” –Handel’s Messiah; Isaiah 40:1

This Sunday’s sermon focus is all about fear. The scripture of the day comes from Luke 13:31-35:

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

In Sunday’s sermon, we’ll be asking ourselves: where are we afraid? What are the fears that inch their ways into our lives? Not things like heights, or the dark, but the things that we let have power over how we live our lives– fear of rejection, the loss of influence, health, prestige, etc.

In one of the images in this Sunday’s scripture, Jesus laments that the children of Israel won’t let him gather them under his wing, to comfort and protect them as does a mother hen. We are not so different today: why do we so often cling to our fears rather than run to the comfort and safety of Jesus?

One of my favorite passages about personal fear comes from Marianne Williamson. She writes:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Ask yourself that, out loud, right now. Who are you NOT to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? You are a child of God!

Fear can be comfortable because it’s predictable. Either failure or success would demand something of us, so, best not to try. But as Marianne Williamson points out, when we allow our personal fears to paralyze us, when we don’t turn to the comfort of Jesus, we are not living into the fabulous, amazing person God created us to be.

In many cities, light pollution prevents people from seeing the stars in the night sky. What might be “light pollution” for our lives of faith that keeps us from seeing and trusting God’s love and care for us, and truly becoming the brilliant, fabulous person God has made us to be? This week, ask yourself: what blocks out your ability to trust God’s promises in faith? How might we “turn off” whatever spoils our trust in God?

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