Facing fear and finding hope

Enjoy this monthly post by Reverend Patrick Riecke, director, Chaplaincy and Volunteer Services.

Some say we are in difficult times, and I agree. But, more specifically, these are tender times. And fear comes from a tender place in my heart. If I am scared of heights (which I am), that comes from a place inside me that I know I cannot control. However, fear isn’t the only thing that comes from a tender place. Hope comes from that same place. If I hope my team will finally make the playoffs, that also comes from a place inside me that I know I cannot control.

These tender times can give way to fear. But they can also stoke the flames of hope.


God’s Faith in Humankind.
As I say in the video, the great untold story of faith is God’s belief in you and me.

In Christian teachings, Jesus ended his time on earth with ascending back into heaven … and pretty much leaving everyone behind. This isn’t terribly different in other religions. Usually “God” gives “humankind” some kind of vision, teaching or scripture, and then trusts them with it.

For Jesus, his last words aren’t about believing in God or what God will do. Instead, he essentially turned over the keys of the Kingdom to a bunch of gals and guys who were uneducated, young, and totally unaware of what was really going on.

His words to them are all about what they will do:

YOU - You will receive power
YOU - You will be my witnesses
YOU - You will go the ends of the earth

Let’s consider the Jesus story for what it really is; a man said to be divine living among common people for 33 years, giving them a handful of teachings that turned the world on edge, dying a sudden death, then, although he rose from the dead, leaving them on their own to carry on his work that barely got started.

Read this paraphrase of his last words: “I can’t tell you a ton of details and what is going to happen now. There will be times and seasons, and things will likely be pretty up and down. You’ll have to trust the authority of God because it’s not going to be all spelled out for you. I’ll be with you, but really everything is up to you from now on.”

Think of the whole story of the Bible, not just the Christian New Testament.

God entrusted the world to Adam and Eve.
God entrusted the saving of the world to Noah.
God entrusted the Law of God to Moses.
God entrusted the survival of the Jews to Ruth.
God entrusted the future of his people to Abraham and Sarah.
God entrusted the nation of Israel to David.

I was going to list all the trouble that each of these normal people got themselves into in spite of God’s trust in them, but I was afraid it would not be appropriate for younger viewers.

Here is an ultimate truth: Our failures do not compromise God’s confidence in us.



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