Welcome to Week 1 as Waretown UMC kicks off a worship theme and study series based on Francis Chan’s ‘Basic.’ Here a short video introducing this Sunday’s theme ‘Fear God’ and some of my reflections below.
This doesn’t sound right does it? Isn’t God full of grace and love? Isn’t ‘fear’ something we experience at the hands of bullies, horror movies, and snakes? Well, we know for sure that when the Bible says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” it DOESN’T mean the same type of fear we fear bullies and snakes.
What about a similar word in the fear family ‘awe’. Yes, now we are getting closer. Have you ever stood admiring the starry sky, the deep blue sea, or the spectacular sunset and felt a sense of awe at the beauty and majesty. Still, we know for sure that when the Bible says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” it DOESN’T mean just the awe we feel from creation.
Have you ever been in the presence of something with incredible POWER: a lion, a giant wave, a raging river, extremely high voltage wires, tall buildings, large machinery, etc.. These may not be perfect examples… but, they remind us that there are things that are so powerful that we can’t help but be in ‘awe’ while at the same time experience a healthy fear when standing close to them. It’s not the fear of bullies or snakes… but rather the fear that comes from being small or powerless in the face of something way way bigger. We realize we are not in control, we realize we have to be alert and live by the rules of the other.
When we are close to God… the all-powerful creator of everything… and we don’t experience a healthy fear along with the incredible awe, then something is wrong. Yes, God is love. God promises grace and eternal life to those who put their faith in God. But, God is not in our control and we must learn to be alert and live by God’s rules… not because God is a punishing bully, but because we live at our own peril when we live contrary to the way the God of the Universe created things.