Fear not: report of this morning’s service
Duncan pointed out the many different phrases and themes in the passage, many of which would, he said, be at least half familiar to many of us. He suggested that we reflect on what Jesus was saying, focussing on the phrases and sentences which seemed to speak particularly to us, find out more about their meaning, and let them accompany us through the week ahead.
He emphasised the sombre background to the passage – Jesus was preparing his disciples for a time when they would face persecution and even death because of their faith in him. And Duncan reminded us that for many of our brothers and sisters as Christians around the world, persecution is a daily reality. He drew our attention to the annual Open Doors Watch List of those countries where it is most dangerous to profess a love of Jesus, and read an account of Sri Lankan Christians who were able to show practical love to those who had attacked them.
But Duncan also emphasised the element of hope in the passage. God cares for us as God cares for the sparrow; God has enumerated the hairs of our head. And so Jesus repeats in the passage ‘Don’t be afraid! Fear not!’ And Duncan reminded us the story of the last text poet Seaumas Heaney sent to his wife before an operation. It was in Latin – ‘Nolle timere’ which means ‘fear not.’ And so as we go into this week, with all its challenges, uncertainties, and unknowns we can entrust ourselves to the love of God and know that, whatever happens, we need not fear.
Someone reminded me this week (John writing) of a saying which has a lot of truth in it – “Those who put everything in the hands of God will see that hands of God in everything.’
There’s also a link below to the 3rd episode of the Out of the Box Family Series, Honkey and Trek.