“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
In the month of November we are going to focus on fearlessness in worship. This topic is so timely as we hear about the increase of violence not only around the world but in our own neighborhood and the increase of widespread illness. There are certainly enough voices around us telling us that it is time for us to be afraid. The uncertainty of the future can make us feel like we are out of control.
This idea, the future is a scary place, is not new. There are so many times in scripture where God begins calling someone into something new by saying “Do not fear” or “Do not be afraid.” To me this is God’s acknowledgment that sometimes following God’s will is not easy and can be scary. Often times following God means leaving behind something comfortable for something unknown. It can also mean depending on God to be present with us while on this journey. This is certainly scary! Yet all the same, God calls us not to be afraid.
So first, we want each of you to think about these things: Is there anything that causes you anxiety that holds you back from being able to be the person that God wants you to be? Is there fear that is keeping you from hearing where God might be calling you into the future? Where is God calling you to “not be afraid?”
As our scripture above from 1 John says, there is no fear in love. Love implies trust and if we trust that God will not lead us astray, then we have no reason to fear.
November is also the time when we think about being thankful. Thanksgiving, leading us into the beginning of the Holiday season, brings back memories of joyful times with family and friends. So during this month of November we also want each of you to think about these things: Why do you stay with the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren? What about this community makes you thankful?
This Church is a place that is full of memories and each day we make new memories together. Sometimes fear of the future causes us to idealize the past. But as God calls us into the future, I am thankful that we do not walk alone. God walks with us into the future and continues to call us. In the month of November, may you hear God calling you into the future fearlessly. May you hear God calling your unique gifts and talents to God’s use. As our themes in worship for November will ask, how can you live fearlessly, serve fearlessly, sow fearlessly, and give fearlessly?
-- Pastor Audrey