Lent Preview

Be Not Afraid

So much in life seems to conspire to make us afraid. Headlines about pending economic woes or rising tensions abroad. Concern for our children and loved ones. An uncertain future. Yes, there is much in this world that is frightening. Which may explain why the most frequent command in all Scripture is not “Love the Lord your God will all your heart, mind, and strength” or “Love you neighbor as yourself” – both great commands, by the way! – but instead is “Do not fear.”

From the beginning of the gospel story, when the Angel Gabriel confronts a startled Mary with those words, to the message of the angels attending Jesus’ empty tomb to his earliest disciples, “Do not fear” is quoted so frequently that it is almost a summary of the gospel. Are there things in our lives and world that are frightening? Of course. Must we let them dominate our imaginations and, indeed, our lives. Absolutely not. Why? Because Jesus’ Christ’s life, death, and resurrection promise us, first, that God goes with us wherever we may go and, second, that God will bring us, and indeed all things, not just to an end, but to a good end.

This Lent, we will root ourselves in God’s command and promise so that we can live with greater honesty, compassion, and courage. On Sundays, we will explore some of the most important and memorable stories in Scripture that name, flesh out, and amplify God’s promise of courage and comfort in what often feels like a perilous world. On Wednesday mornings, we will delve more deeply into the story of our Lord’s passion as told in the Gospel of Mark and recall again how and why Jesus overcame his fear in order to fulfill the destiny given him by his father. And on Wednesday evenings, we will confront one of those things our culture says is simply too frightening to talk about, bringing into the light of God’s grace so that we can confront and overcome it together.

Through worship, education, service, music, and a splendid congregational devotional, we will arm ourselves with God’s confidence and courage so that we, too, may respond to God’s call to “fear not!” – DAVID J. LOSE, SENIOR PASTOR