What are you afraid of?
This week the issue of fear has come up in a number of conversations with people, and in the gospel lesson for this coming Sunday as well. We have talked about fear when it comes to understand different aspects of faith, fear when it comes to living out our lvies of faith, fear of the unknown, and even fear of change. There is a lot of fear in the world, and this fear can either paralyze us or it can challenge us to grow.
Growing up my greatest fear was snakes - I still hate the critters. I always had fears of being bitten (growing up in rattlesnake country) and what might happen if I was. For a while this fear kept me from playing on the Rims (some rock formations that surrounding Billings that were breeding grounds for rattlers) and exploring with my friends. Because of this fear I kept from having a lot of fun. Finally, a friend of mine pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me up on the Rims to explore. The snakes were still there, but if I was careful, and respected the snakes and their space, things were fine.
If we let fear dictate our lives, we miss out on a lot. We miss new experiences, we miss time with friends and family, we miss growing in a variety of ways.
I think one of the keys with our fears is to face them - and to do so with the support and care of others. The disciples were afraid of what might happen to them after Jesus was raised from the dead - and they holed themselves up in a locked room - paralyzed to move. But after they were blessed by the risen Jesus, and given the gift of the Spirit, together they faced their fears and continued the mission, the opportunity, that they were given to form the church.
We need to do the same thing when it comes to our fears - to gather with others and face the fears we have. We still respect the fears - as I respected the snakes - but we do not let the fears govern our lives. In doing this we are freed to experience the great gifts of God in new and exciting ways.
So my question today is - what do you fear? And how can we, the Church, the body of Christ, help you to face those fears and continue to grow?