Luther Seminary God Pause
Sunday, 11/9/2014 Hymn: "What a Fellowship, What Joy Devine," ELW 774
What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, (Leaning on Jesus, leaning on Jesus,) safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, (leaning on Jesus, leaning on Jesus,) leaning on the everlasting arms.
Oh, how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, leaning on the everlasting arms; oh, how bright the path grows from day to day, leaning on the everlasting arms. Refrain
What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms. Refrain>
In today's society if people aren't busy they're afraid--afraid the economy will let them down; that wars won't end; that Ebola, cancer and various other diseases will have no cure, to name a few. There are other fears--emotional, spiritual, social--that inhibit our desire to do the right thing. We might ask ourselves, "What will others say or think if I step out in faith? What if I fail? Can I really trust God?" (You can add your own fears to this list.)
Verse 3 of the hymn reminds us that through faith in Jesus we can have a different way of addressing the fears that negatively shape our lives. Knowing that Jesus faced the greatest of fears, but then was raised to new life after dying on a cross, can give us assurance, blessed peace and the confidence that we have absolutely nothing to dread. Jesus invites and welcomes us to lean on him, especially when facing our fears.
God of hope and power, help us to face the fears of our modern world: unceasing wars, incurable diseases, complicated economies. Help us to overcome these fears and those that inhibit our trusting you completely in daily living. Teach us to lean on the everlasting arms of Jesus today and always. Amen.>
Keith Anderson Pastor, First Lutheran Church Ketchikan, Ala. Master of Divinity, 1989
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