September 5, 2020 - Pastor Message09/29/2020
THE YEAR OF DISCIPLESHIP INTERGENERATIONAL DISCIPLESHIP
“Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, the powers, the world rulers of this present darkness, and with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:10 12).
We are living in a very scary time. With COVID19, wildfires and hurricanes, and civil violence and unrest, our whole country is full of anxiety and fear. No doubt, this same emotional insecurity is affecting our children as they enter into the already daunting task of starting a new school year. Whether they are attending school in person or remotely, there is so much uncertainty in their lives right now, how can they not be afraid?
Yet our faith teaches us the exact opposite. As Jesus tells his disciples time and time again, “Do not be afraid.” Why? What is the basis for a Christian’s courage? It is Christ himself, who conquers all the powers of this world, even death. If death itself could not conquer Christ, then what do we who are joined to Christ have to fear? As St. Paul teaches us, “if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in his resurrection” (Romans 6:5). No matter what this world throws at us, we know that we will overcome it, because we are united with Christ.
That is the message our young people need to hear from us as they begin this school year so full of uncertainty. They need to hear the truth of our faith, that Jesus Christ is Lord of heaven and earth and that no power in heaven or on earth can defeat those who belong to him, as long as we follow where he leads. And they need to hear that message, not just with our words, but with our actions. We ourselves need to live that faith by refusing to live in fear.
That doesn’t mean that we live recklessly or foolishly. We need to take reasonable steps to preserve our safety and lives and that of our families. God, who gives us life, does not want us to throw our lives away needlessly, but he doesn’t want us to cling to our earthly lives as if they were all that matters either. He gives us life in this world so that we can love and serve him by loving and serving one another, and, by that, attain eternal life beyond death. May we teach our children and young people this supreme lesson as they begin the school year, and, by our words and actions, lead them to an ever-closer union with Christ, who conquers all things and takes away all fear.
Fr. Marc Stockton