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June 20 Minister's Message

It’s taken a minute to reflect on a quote I came across this week from author Horace Jackson Brown Jr. “Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something.” You may remember this author for his inspirational, bestselling “Life’s Little Instruction Book” published more than thirty years ago.

These three human tendencies receive greater airtime in the Bible than any other topic. Most of us, regardless of our faith tradition, can recall a verse that encourages us about each of these. We remember Jesus’ words, “Be not afraid”, and “Love one another as I have loved you.” We know Jesus’ promise, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”


Whether we listen to bad news in the world or the sorrows of family or friends, we know these are anxious times. We’re all afraid of something, we all love something, and we have indeed all lost something. Naming these things aloud so that we can hear them will help us move towards the healing, reconciliation and peace for which we long.


We humans are afraid of many things. We’re afraid of failure, lonely and ashamed that there might be something wrong with us. We’re afraid of success, anxious that when we succeed, even more will be expected of us. And we’re afraid of intimacy, suspicious if people really knew us, they wouldn’t like us. These and other fears visit us in the early watches of the night and disturb our rest.


We humans love many things. We love a friend, a relative, a sport, the wilderness, an avocation, our God, our tribe, our precious life. When we love deeply, we can be pulled back into the fear that what we love could be lost to us at any time.


And so, we humans grieve many things. We’ve lost loved ones, the betrayal of a friend, our health, our wealth, our sense of well-being that all is right with the world.


Everybody experiences the consolation of love sometime, now or in memory. As you bring what or who you love to mind, express gratitude to God for the gift that love offers. Among other things, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” Perfect love rises within us like well water, as gift from our Creator who will never abandon or forsake us though the world changes and rearranges.


Everybody expresses fear when we’re uncertain about the outcome of a situation or circumstance we deeply value. As you bring that which you fear to mind, remember that God will give you whatever you need to overcome the obstacle in front of you.


Everybody engages grief when we’ve lost something we anticipate cannot be found or returned, only changed. As you bring to mind something you deeply value that is lost to you, open your empty hand and God will fill it with whatever you need for the now and the next.


In all these things, we listen for the One who loved us into being and calls us by name saying, “Peace, be still…Be still and know that I am God.”


God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you.


Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland


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