Monday, October 25, 2010

A Rebuke to Fear

I borrowed the title from my priest, the Rev. Bill Bennett. A recent sermon inspired a few thoughts about trusting the Lord and its antithesis, fear. Learning to trust God is the antidote to anxiety, a rebuke to fear.

Fear is a medium of distortion. Fear, prejudice, hate, inferiority, and so on, are the ingredients of alienation. (Valson Thampu writing for Scripture Union)

Unfortunately, we seem to be wallowing in fear these days. A rebuke is in order. Pray with me...


My nation is afraid. This imposing, broad shouldered, bighearted country is scared.

The decade began with terrorism and the finale was a recession. We’re beset by INSECURITY writ large.

Hate-filled fundamentalists are a hard-to-love, difficult-to-forgive foe, but we’ve gone overboard with our enemies list: Muslims, the poor and immigrants. Threats and finger pointing abound. Political discourse is profane and divisive. Is America’s heart shriveling?

We reflexively trust our military prowess and revered market economy. Surely, that has been humbling during protracted war and sluggish economic recovery. Yet, “In God We Trust” does not come easily.

The prescription is found in your Word:
…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 
(2nd Chronicles 7:14)

That does not require an American theocracy, or a welfare state, or mass deportation. It is, however, a challenge to the Church. We have ample grounds for repentance, personal and national.

Will people who call themselves Christians sincerely, intentionally turn to You? Will they trust and obey? Will they put a generous faith ahead of parsimonious politics?

Only then can transformed human hearts shout a rebuke to fear:
In God We Trust.