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A couple of national historical tidbits…
First, one of the most famous quotes in the 20th century was Franklin D. Roosevelt declaring: So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. So true.
Second, “In God We Trust” was adopted as the official slogan of the United States in 1956 as an attempt to draw an even sharper distinction with the godless communism of the Soviet Union. It had appeared on the two-cent piece in 1864, but the legislation adopted by the 84th Congress mandated it was to appear on all our United States currency, replacing the phrase “E pluribus unum” (One out of many).
I know saying fear isn’t going to control us because trust in God is going to be our guiding light doesn’t make it so. I’m very familiar with Jesus’ call to trust God in ALL things, and to refrain from worry and fear. Yet worry and fear is what I do. It is what we do best, and thanks to our 24-hour news cycle and social media, our worries and fears are fanned every day in ways unprecedented in human history.
I’d be a fool to say fear isn’t justified given the unsettling return to many of the cold war realities, the clear and present danger of terrorism and gun violence (both national and international), the destabilization of technology, and competition of a global economy… the list could go on and on.
Fear is not bad in and of itself, for fear is a God-given instinct that promotes survival and many times keeps me from recklessly “driving my life off a cliff”. I’ve been blessed with twenty-four years of sobriety because of my fear of what alcohol does to me. So what in the world is Jesus driving at?
The love of God and trust in God’s ultimate care and provision is for Jesus, the ultimate game changer. Fear can lead us toward seeking greater control and the creation of elaborate illusions of security, or it can lead us toward more and more surrender and a deeper and deeper embrace of God’s way of living connected lives. Today, fear is fueling what many are calling a new tribalism, which is dividing us and devouring what is good and decent in us. Jesus is emphatically stating that life is not a zero-sum game. If we did trust God, the many would become more and more one. At the end of his teaching, Jesus clearly stated the proof of how we’re living will be revealed by the results. (Matthew 7:15-20 and Jesus’ prayer in John 17)
Here’s what Jesus had to say about fear and trust in Matthew 6:24-34 (The Message)
“You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both. “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body.
Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works.
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
Between now and Sunday, be an observer of your own life…are you choosing trust or fear at any given time during your daily life?
Hope to see you Sunday…This is what I found on my desk…
COLLECTING CLOTHING FOR F.I.S.H.
This Sunday morning, we will be collecting clothing for F.I.S.H. (Friends In Sonoma Helping). Please bring your clothing donations and leave them in the side entry of the fellowship hall. The good, gently used, clean clothing will be transported to F.I.S.H. and distributed to families in our own Sonoma Valley who are in need. Thank you for supporting this vital local ministry.
DO YOU ENJOY BAKING? It is a tradition at St. Andrew to have fresh-baked muffins available after each of our regular services on Easter Sunday. If you would be interested in baking muffins for the congregation in the St. Andrew Kitchen during one of our Easter Sunday services, please contact the church office or check the box on your Prayer Card this Sunday.
CAN YOU HELP WITH COFFEE CLEAN-UP ON EASTER SUNDAY? We are looking for a few volunteers to assist with Coffee Hour Clean-Up following the 10:30AM service on Easter Sunday. If you are available to help, please contact the church office or check the box on your Prayer Card this Sunday.