Rector's Weekly Message

This Sunday there is a single phrase repeated in both the Old Testament reading from Genesis and the Gospel lesson from St. Matthew: Do not be afraid. 

In the Genesis Hagar is desperately and reasonably afraid for her life and the life of her son Ishmael since they have been cast out of Abraham’s camp into the desert.

In Matthew the disciples are reasonably afraid of the work Jesus is sending them to do: people get crucified, stoned, lashed, imprisoned, contract horrible diseases, suffer hunger and exposure, lose everything doing that kind of work.  

Life for us can also be scary.  No matter how successful we are, our inner lives are full of fears like Hagar's and the disciples’.  Fear gets power from the goodness of life.  We know how easily everything we love can be lost by a careless text, a single drink, a mutation in our genes, a betrayal of trust, negligence, misconduct, violence of our own or another’s doing.

The message of God to Hagar, and to the disciples, and to us is the same. Conflict, sacrifice, suffering and loss are real.  But hold on. These are also the times when the glorious compassion, mercy, and saving power of God  shine brightest in our lives.  God hears.  God saves.

Hagar found a spring.  The disciples were filled with living water and power.  And you have also discovered, will discover again: God is with you.  The maker of heaven and earth has you in his hands and there is no better place to be.  Hold on. Live in companionship with God.  Go where he commands.  Follow where he leads.  Drink from his spring.  And do not be afraid.