Third Sunday after Pentecost
Do you feel safe? This question has received much more attention over the last few years. Our world seems scary and chaotic; so we spend our days in fear and feeling unsafe. We realize we are not safe in a movie theater, a high school, an elementary school, an Amish community school, an outdoor concert, a nightclub, or a church. We hear of shootings and violence, and we look for laws and change to make it better. Can they make us feel safer?
If you have ever been robbed, you know the change it makes in you. You come home and find your house or car ransacked, and you feel violated. Someone hurt you, unexpectedly, and you feel as if no place is safe. Yet, over time, you begin to relax, go back to your old ways, get some help through therapy, and begin to learn that the same world exists that existed before you were violated. You control how you feel; you control your feelings, your fear.
This scripture today is not easy. It is full of violence and fear. We are reminded that those whom we are around affect us, that all our secrets will be revealed, and that the Jesus of peace actually came to bring a sword! So how does this help us feel safe at all?
Sandwiched between these challenging texts is the reminder of God’s protection and care. God knows every inch of us, loves every part of us, and will never leave us alone. God knows the whole world, even our world today, and reminds us that we are safe, safe as followers and believers. Even if we encounter the worst of the world, God remains true to us, keeping us safe.
When our families, friends, strangers, and others challenge us to fall prey to the worries and fears of the world, remember Immanuel, God with us, always.
Katie Van Der Linden, pastor, Ebenezer Moravian Church,