Facing our fears

September 16, 2021

From Pastor Joey

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been reading an article by Stephen King and his dreams that my thoughts have been on “what scares us”. My own answer to that would be: COVID, aging, forgetfulness, traffic, family illness. Some of you would have a similar list. Others might add cancer, loneliness, spiders. One question I will be asking from time to time comes from President Bush’s speech at Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 11, 2021. He said the tragedy caused Americans to wonder “What is the spiritual significance of this act?” He remembered that the horror caused people to turn to one another in loving kindness, to experience grace in unexpected ways.

So, I ask, “What is the spiritual significance of facing our fears?” My answer begins with remembering the Holy One who holds my life. I find it interesting that in the Bible the bold imperative, “Be not afraid,” is directed to those who are about to receive God’s blessing in radical ways. Consider Mary. Unmarried. Engaged to Joseph. Planning to be a carpenter’s wife in Nazareth. Then the angel Gabriel stops her in her tracks. “Fear not.” My answer would be, “Are you kidding me!” She heard the message that she would be the bearer of the savior of humankind.

Her faithful response was, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has looked with grace on the lowliness of his servant.”

Sometimes I turn to the hymnbook for reassurance. One particular hymn found prominence in the “oldie” movie Mrs. Miniver. An English family faced the challenge and fear of the beginning and continuing trauma of World War II. Throughout the movie were scenes of them in church singing this hymn:

*O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.
Our shelter from the stormy blast and our eternal home!
*Under the shadow of thy throne, still may we dwell secure;
Sufficient is thine arm alone, and our defense is sure.
*O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come;
Be thou our guide while life shall last, and our eternal home.

(Words: Isaac Watts, United Methodist Hymnal, p. 117)

When I sing these words, my heart stills. I become calm. I experience a peace that is stronger than my fear. Many of the things we fear are not simply irrational ones. We face a strange and challenging time and some of our fears point to threats that are very real. The hymn reminds me that through the ages people have faced grave danger and turned to God to take it beyond the fear to the knowledge that “This is our Father’s world. That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet!” (Words: Maltbie D. Babcock, UMH, p. 144)

Amazing training and inspiration comes once again from the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.

There are worship services, keynote speakers, and relevant—not to mention helpful—breakout sessions. Adam Hamilton, the senior pastor, is one of United Methodist’s leading voices. Trinity has used several of his books for small group study. I just registered and encourage any church leader or person interested in solid church “training” to check it out. It is $99 per person online. There is a group rate if you want to gather. I will be attending at home here in Port Angeles. Find online: Leadership Institute, Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, Kansas! For more information, see the announcement below on the Leadership Institute.

Blessings, Joey

Some Concerns that we have

  • Pastor Brad and Dorothy for Brad’s health issues.
  • For those who continue to go through physical struggles, those who are dealing with cancer, or other health situations. For those who are emotionally feeling lost and alone.
  • For those who haven’t been vaccinated yet; for all those who are ill from the Covid-19 virus; for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus; and for essential workers.
  • For peace in our country.
  • For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal.
  • Memorial Service for Joe McCaffery
  • Please join us as we celebrate the life of Joe McCaffery next Tuesday, September 21, at 1:00 pm.