I recently clipped a little factoid out of a periodical I subscribe to that I thought was interesting:
“Amazon says that the most highlighted Bible passage on Amazon’s Kindle e-reader is Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
It is understandable that readers of scripture are highlighting these comforting words, because a lot of the news these days has people anxious. The upcoming political conventions will take place amid great division and mistrust in our nation. Great Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union has raised concern internationally about the global economy and immigration. The migrations of whole populations of people who seek the basic human requirements for life, food and water, not to mention peace, has the world on edge. And closer to home, our country’s ongoing racial divisions seem to be getting worse. Do not be anxious about anything is not only a word of comfort but also a challenge, isn’t it?
The Bible is pretty realistic about the divisions and tensions that plague the people of God, but the overriding message is that God has our back. Our summertime worship which is centered on the classic Old Testament stories we teach our youngest children affirms this over and over again. They are complex stories, hard to understand, but ultimately end with a message that God is on the side of the human family, and God desires abundant life for all people.
I hope that in these anxious days, especially when we gather for worship, we will hear the echo of God’s continuing assurance: Do not be anxious. I’ve got your back! Trust in my peace that transcends all understanding, and join me in the loving, liberating work of the gospel.