January 26, 2017

These days, I find myself wrestling with anxiety. Watching the news makes me anxious. Thinking about what’s happing in our country makes me anxious. Looking at all the work I’m supposed to accomplish this week makes me anxious. Thinking about people who have far more reason to be anxious than me makes me anxious. And spending time with others who are also feeling anxiety makes me anxious.

When anxiety runs high, I am tempted to find ways to escape: watch TV, read books, play electronic games, focus on work, stay inside, sleep – anything that let’s me detach from the anxiety that surrounds me. But in truth, distraction only helps so much. It provides an escape, to be sure, but all that has made me anxious is waiting for my return.

It is in practicing my faith that I find peace, inner calm and outer hope. Slowing down to pray calms my anxious mind; meditating on God’s provision gives me hope for what lies ahead, Sunday morning worship helps ground me in God’s reality, and participating in the life of the church – Standing and Singing for Justice, working with Aspire and Achieve, hearing what each Department is doing to facilitate the ongoing work, worship and witness of our congregation – gives me opportunities to be part of God’s story – a story of hope in times of anxiety.

In the Christian year, we are living in the season of Epiphany – a time when Jesus grows in wisdom and stature. May the God who walks with us continue growing within us – in understanding and wisdom – in knowledge of what is going on around us and what it means to be the presence of God in the midst of our times. God in human flesh is exactly what we need to help us through these days.

I’m glad we are entering February, a time to learn from and celebrate African American History. African Americans have long endured anxious times. They have known what it is like to rely on God’s hope rather than what was going on around them. They offer an example of perseverance, of trusting God, and of standing strong when life gives them ample reason to be anxious. May we glean new insights in faith, struggle, and God’s dream for us all this February. May our anxiety be transformed as we learn, as we worship, and as we work together for something so much greater than we can understand right now.

Peace for the journey,

Allison