Two of Coleraine’s most famous sons were on the New Horizon stage last night. Richard and Peter Chambers, silver medalists in rowing two weeks ago were given a huge welcome as they made a surprise appearance at an event they were involved in in previous years. Barry Forde even got the chance to wear two silver medals – apparently the ensuing photo is set to be his new Facebook profile picture.
Speaking of Facebook, the evening’s other guests wanted us to know about a special Facebook page – www.facebook.com/fsatat – For such a time as this is an opportunity to pray daily for the Muslim world.
Simon Guillebaud (speaking on his ninth wedding anniversary – he says on Twitter that he deserves a medal for punching above his weight, or his wife does, for putting up with him) announced that he was going to talk about an offensive F-word: fear. The beginning of fear is the end of faith and the beginning of faith is the end of fear. He worked from the post-resurrection story in John 20, where the disciples were locked away in fear of the Jews. Jesus appeared and spoke peace to them – twice. The command not to fear is one of the most frequent in the Bible.
1. We are to face our fear. Henri Nouwen observed how we live with so many “what if” questions. But we are born to be free for life in Christ.
2. We are to free ourselves from fear. We have been given the key to be free, so it is our own choice if we stay in a prison of fear. Many of us play safe because we fear failure: some of churches are marked by risk-aversion. We live in “the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” In the end, the disciples’ fears were redeemed. God is worth the risk: he has big hands.
3. We are to follow by faith, free from fear. Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit on his disciples. (“‘You have listened to fears, Child,’ said Aslan. ‘Come, let me breathe on you.’”) For many of us, we fear the Holy Spirit. The biggest danger to the East African Revival (experienced by Simon’s grandparents) was missionaries who feared losing control. Sometimes we strive to be biblically literate, more than biblically obedient.
It is perfect love that drives it fear. And nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ.