This morning we had a great innovation at our Church service. The Reader, didn’t preach a conventional sermon as such, but taking the reading of The Good Shepherd from John 10, invited the congregation to answer a series of questions from which the key sermon message emerged up on the large screen fro everyone to see.
After asking us what we were expecting to hear from God at the service, he asked us to name ‘which command or instruction did Jesus utter more than any other to those he encountered whist here on earth?’ We all offered various suggestions such as: love one another; pray; listen; do good to others; honour God etc etc. Then we were told that the phrase (or variations of it) that Jesus used more that any other was “Be not afraid” or “Do not fear”.What a comfort in a world dominated by a financial crisis, wars, swine flu pandemic, global warming and spiraling debt. But are these words enough to give us peace? Can we feel the peace and comfort that Christ offers? Can we stay still long enough to begin any meaningful conversation or spiritual journey which will give us this peace? If your not sure, maybe you can take some comfort from this short prayer which I would encourage you to say out loud if you can:
Loving God, I know I shouldn’t be afraid but sometimes I am- afraid of what happened in the past, what is happening in the present and what may happen in the future. I sometimes wonder if I have what it takes to face these challenges and lose sight of your words do not be afraid. Help me to trust you more and not be worried about failure or success- but to know that you love me as I am however things turn out. Give me whatever portion of courage and trust I need to be the person you have called me to be. Loving God who takes away fear, embrace me in your arms, encircle me with your grace and enfold me in your love. Help me to see and feel this and reflect it to others with a new confidence in you.For Jesus’ sake. Amen.