January 6, 2010

Do not fear, for I am with you.

The Old Testament lesson for Sunday is profoundly hopeful. I mean, ridiculously hopeful. Almost dangerously hopeful. Like, snake handlingly hopeful.

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you."

God's promises include some really amazing things; things which the vast majority of Christians would recommend you do not take God up on, but the central premise which makes up the title of this post remains sound: Do not fear, for God is with you.

It is the word on the lips of the angels who visit the various characters of the Christmas story and it is the word of the prophet Isaiah. Do not fear. Don't be afraid. Yes, life is going to be tough and messy and sad, but God will be there and though he probably won't take it all away, he will be alongside you.

Rob Bell says that the most powerful sermon ever written contains only two words, "me too." God, in the incarnation, and by his promises says, "me too," and reminds us - Do not fear.

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