Looking Forward to Sunday: Good News for Cowards

Rev. Daniel Eggold

Jun 15, 2020

Readings:

Jeremiah 20:7–13; Psalm 91:1–10 (11–16); Romans 6:12–23; Matthew 10:5a, 21–33

     Jesus is more straightforward in Sunday’s gospel than we might want to hear. He makes it clear that there is danger in this life, especially in following Jesus in his way of love, mercy, justice, and compassion. It is dangerous because many forces oppose God’s way: fear, greed, and selfishness.

     Just by saying these things, Jesus raises our anxiety and provokes our own worry. But he doesn’t leave us there. In fact, he says outright, “Do not fear” (Matthew 10:28). And beyond that, he tells us why we do not need to be afraid: “You are valuable to God.”

     We might feel like cowards at times. Fear grips us. We find it difficult to act for the sake of the gospel when there is a risk, be it physical, social, or financial. The word coward comes from the word for “tail,”like an animal putting its tail between its legs. We want to put our tail between our legs and hide.

     Jesus summons us to something else: courage. The word courage comes from the word for “heart.” Sometimes we say to someone facing a difficult time,“Take heart!” Courage enables us to act even though they are afraid. We serve from our hearts, our sense of who they really are. Jesus tells us who we really are: we are valuable to God, so our lives matter. We will not be forgotten or abandoned, especially when we face troubles. This is our heart, our courage.

     Jesus also says, “It is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher” (Matthew 10:25). Jesus faced ridicule, rejection, suffering, and death for his commitment to God’s kingdom of love. We are not alone in our attempts to walk the way of love, mercy, justice, and compassion. Jesus, our teacher, walks this way with us. Take heart!

Prayer

Teach us, good Lord God, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, except that of knowing that we do your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.