Pastor Cheryl Matthews Report
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
In text study by Zoom today, one of my colleagues spoke of "the Good News of an ordered life." I find that helpful in the face of what seems to be so much chaos and disorder around us. We are living through a very difficult time. This pandemic has not only brought a deadly disease into our lives, we also see the devastating impact of unemployment, hunger, protests, looting, and nearly 190,000 of our fellow citizens here in the United States have died from Covid 19.
We know we are not the first to live with uncertainty and instability. In fact, it has been worse many times throughout history but there is so much in the news that makes us uneasy. There are things happening in our families that hurt us. Some of us are dealing with health issues that never seem to give us even a minute of rest. Many in our nation are still living with the consequences of fires, Hurricane Laura, flooding, and tornadoes.
There are so many things that make us feel fearful and helpless. The Bible acknowledges that these things are real and being afraid is part of being human. We are also assured that these things are not given by God, instead God has given us power, love, courage and hope. Sometimes it is difficult to remember these truths: life is really difficult and sometimes scary AND God is more real than sin, death and fear.
Walter Brueggemann reminds us of this in his book The Gospel of Hope, "The world does not need the church to talk about what is already possible. The work of the church is to battle the world's definition of what is believable and unbelievable." We are Lutherans so we call a thing what it is: we name sin, we call out injustice, we admit fear, we acknowledge pain, grief, depression, anxiety and sadness. We also declare that these things do not define us or have the last word. Walter Brueggemann again, "When we live according to our fears and our hates, our lives become small and defensive, lacking the deep, joyous generosity of God."
If you find some part of your life where your daily round has grown thin and controlling and resentful, life with God is much, much larger, shattering our little categories of control, permitting us to say that God's purposes lead us well beyond ourselves to live and to forgive, to create life we would not have imagined. May we remember that God has given a spirit of power, love and self-discipline!
Pastor Cheryl Matthews
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