Faith in a Fearful Time

Our Governor just signed yet another executive order, setting further parameters for what people can and can’t do.  The purpose is to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 which is replicating at a dramatic rate here in Massachusetts and throughout the nation and world.

Only essential services are open such as hospitals, gas stations, grocery stores and liquor stores.  The liquor stores in particular are doing a booming business as people try to cope.

Which of course raises the question, apart from self medicating, how best to manage the stress that we all feel?  Allow me to remind us of an ancient antidote to fear and uncertainty: Faith.

Faith is often taken for granted.  Some see Faith as a crutch, something to lean on, when you can’t make it on your own.  Others may see Faith as wishful thinking, what one cold war leader in the 20th century called ‘the opiate of the masses’.   Some suggest that Faith is a lazy substitute for scientific thought and reason.

Yet, for all these tropes, Faith remains.  Particularly during times of crisis.

Why?

For me, Faith is as real as the air I breathe.  When the illusion of control is taken away (such as now with COVID-19), what remains is Faith.  Friends in the recovery movement know this to be true.  They understand that their sobriety is based on the need for community and reliance on a Higher Power, according to each person’s understanding.

Faith is a choice. A stance.  A way of leaning into the uncertainty and fear of any given moment.  Rather than making one helpless, it empowers us to be engaged, to be involved.  At its best, Faith calls us to work for the common good.

The theologian William Sloan Coffin, put it this way:

I love the recklessness of faith, first you leap and then you grow wings.

Faith reminds us that we journey not alone, but in the company of that which is greater than oneself.  That which is greater, goes by many names: Wisdom/God/Spirit/Creator.

Cultivating Faith is simple and profound. Faith invites us to ‘take a leap’, to open oneself to an eternal  source of wisdom To let go of the illusion that we are in control and rather, that there is presence, a Source that wants us to be well.

To believe this, is of course, a choice.  Yet, if we say ‘yes’, when we open ourselves up, then all things become possible.  Hope and healing become real.  Just ask a friend or family member in recovery, they know this to be true.

This time in life, with COVID-19,  is a time full of uncertainty and questions. Yet, we journey not alone.  We journey in the company of one another and with that eternal Spirit, the source of all that is good lasting and true.

I believe that God knows us by name.  In my Christian tradition, I take to heart the words of Jesus: “Whatever you do unto the most vulnerable among us, you do unto me.” Matthew 25: 31 – 46.

This is where I hang my spiritual hat.  These words give me hope and purpose.

What about you?  What do you believe?  Where do you turn for wisdom?

These are challenging times.  May you find a Faith that sustains you and offers hope.

May it be so.

 

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “Faith in a Fearful Time

  1. Larry Sims

    Pastor Kent. Thanks for your words of comfort and challenge. Matthew 25 is very alive and very well at FBC Mcminnville! Work with the homeless has been made more challenging with the pandemic, but it continues. As Linfield President Dr. Davis says “Be well, be blest, and wash your hands!”

    1. HI Larry, so good to hear from you. Hope you, JoAnn and family are well. It gives me hope that MT 25 continues to grow and thrive at FBC Mac. Be well and thanks for reading and reaching out!

    1. Joe, thanks. Thinking of your daughter and son in law and all those caught away from home (or God help us, on a cruise ship). You and Susan be well. And, keep on writing and stirring the pot and making us all think.

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