Trust That I AM; Be Not Afraid

In Matthew 14, Jesus says this:

"But straightway Jesus spoke unto them, saying, Trust that I AM; be not afraid."

I wonder if lately we're all too afraid.

We're afraid that God as abandoned America because same sex marriage is the law of the land, or we're afraid that half the country is never going to "get it."

We're afraid because black churches keep burning, and black people keep dying at the hands of our police. Or, we're afraid that our police will fall victim to hate crimes in a pressure cooker race culture.

We're afraid of climate change, or we're afraid the lie of climate change will crush a fragile economy. We're afraid that our military actions abroad will come home to hurt us, or that we're weakening our military too much for it to handle the threats to our security.

Fear. It's the most powerful human emotion. When fear lights up in our brains, our ability to reason or love goes out the window. It's the great motivator. Our leaders know this, and so does our media. Fear fills voting booths, sells newspapers and 24-hour cable news. Fear deepens divisions by sewing mistrust. Fear says it's black or white, gay or straight, us or them.

But Jesus, the broken God, says do not be afraid. Trust that I AM.

Do we trust that? Are we willing to cast off fear, to lay down our protective armor, and reach out to the world in love?

That is the road to healing. That is the work of the cross: to speak for the voiceless, to stand for the broken, to find strength in weakness.

Whenever I am afraid, I remind myself that I am not God. I remember I don't have all the answers.

When that makes me feel powerless, I remember that I can love my God and my neighbor today, right now. I remember that I have been invited to participate in the healing of this world.

And I am not afraid anymore.

photo credit: DoNotbeAfraid via photopin (license)

11 Years Ago Today

2,977 families approach today from a different perspective.  For them 9/11 is not just a sad day for America–it is a day a member of their family perished in senseless tragedy.  I can only imagine how raw their feelings must be on this day, how acute that loss must feel 4,018 days later.

This morning I watched a video I have seen many times.  In it, Carl Sagan reads a passage from his book Pale Blue Dot.  I believe its message is more poignant than ever on the 11th anniversary of September 11, 2001 .  In here, the lesson on perspective sounds remarkably like the teachings of a Rabbi who lived in the first century named Yeshua.  You may have heard the English translation of his name: Jesus.

Carl Sagan tells us that the absolute vastness of space renders foolish our conquests and grandeur, and the only sensible response is to band together.  Jesus told us that the greatest commandments were to love the Creator and love each other.

The cynical believe we can never stand together as a species.  For Christians, the two greatest commandments should be sufficient reminders that such a cynicism has no place in our lives.

For God so loved the World is a powerful message, but today we understand the the World is very small indeed.  May that perspective teach us.