Fear Not and Follow Me
Bob Kyser of Independence, MO, USA
Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” -Mark 8:27-29
I was having a sleepless night worrying about the outcome of a congregational meeting the next day. When morning finally came, I was almost physically ill with anxiety and perhaps even fear.
I went to the church building early to participate in a priesthood meeting in preparation for the congregational meeting later in the day. I had hoped to find some peace of mind. A few minutes later as people were gathering, a friend entered the room. She walked directly to where I was sitting and said, “The word of the Lord to you today is fear not and follow me.”
My prayers had been answered. I was not alone in facing the challenges of that day. The congregation was experiencing significant conflict. The meeting that I had feared was not an easy one. As those attending the meeting sat in a circle and talked, my fears were replaced with hope.
More recently, in the midst of the global pandemic, I was asked to officiate at a friend’s funeral. My initial reaction was to decline given exposure to those coming from various locations to celebrate the life of their loved one. Assured that health protocols would be in place, I agreed to provide ministry. From that moment forward, I felt a sense of peace and assurance. Anxiety, worry, fear vanished, replaced again by a sense of peace. I realized I was not alone. The preparation went well, and all were blessed by the Spirit of Love and Comfort.
In some cultures of the world, there is a Lenten practice of giving up something. I have always felt it important “to take on something new,” not only for 40 days but beyond.
When I reflect on current life challenges and this Lenten time of remembering and reconnecting with Jesus-crucifixion and resurrection-the choice is ever present: worry, anxiety, and fear or hope and a sense of peace.
My commitment is to continually strive to embrace the peace that Jesus has given, not being unduly troubled, and not allowing fear to enter my heart. (John 14:27ff).
Staying close to Jesus, we are never alone. Let’s keep moving toward Jesus together.
Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
Gospel Contemplation (Mark 1:9-11)
Each week during Lent, you are invited to pray with a different gospel story from the life of Christ. Use your senses and imagination to enter the text. Allow it to come to life in you, observing details, noticing interactions, even engaging in dialogue. Notice where you find yourself in the story and how you feel about what is happening. Notice what it evokes in you or invites of you. Take time to journal or enter silent prayer to reflect on your experience and to sense where the Spirit may be leading you through this scriptural encounter.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.