Faith Matters: Worry

Contributing Writer Rev. Dr. Scott D. Hannon St. John Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY
Contributing Writer Rev. Dr. Scott D. Hannon St. John Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY

I had dreams last night. Zombies had taken over the world and I was on the run with my family. I woke up nervous and sweaty. I know it was only a dream. I know there are no zombies (…yet). I still couldn’t fall back asleep.

I wish this were an isolated incident, but the truth is I worry sometimes. I didn’t use to, but somewhere between caring for my family and life the part of my brain that worries was awakened. I worry about health, the economy, and work. I fret over the state of the world and the state of my life. And sometimes, like last night, it keeps me up.

Scripture is filled with stories of worry. While roaming the wilderness the Israelites worried about having enough food to eat. The disciples worried that they wouldn’t have enough food to feed the crowds following Jesus. Peter was worried about Jesus walking towards the cross. While in a boat in the middle of a storm, the disciples wake Jesus up in a panic because they’re worried.

There are countless other stories. Stories of parents worried for their children and people worried for their own health. There are worries over government and worries of money. It’s almost as though there’s something inherently human about worry. Maybe that’s why Jesus said:

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Matthew 6:25
and…

Do not worry about tomorrow. Matthew 6:34

and…

Come to me all who labor and are heavy burden, I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

and…

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

God knows we worry – about family and health and money and sometimes even a pandemic. In the midst of our worry God calls to us with a word of comfort. Jesus himself invites us to lay aside our frets and fears and pick up the promise and peace which only God can provide.

One of my biggest hopes for churches is that the space and time be a place of non-anxious peace for all those who attend. A place where we are reminded of God’s words through the Psalmist… “Be still, therefore, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 And so, be still, my friends. Be at peace. Do not let the tomorrows dictate your life today.

Let us pray. Dear God, lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust, from hate to love, from worry to peace. Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

In the Way,
Rev. Pastor Scott

For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.

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Pastor Scott serves the people of St. John by helping the congregation welcome everyone, care for one another, and grow in the joy of God’s love through Jesus Christ. Pastor Scott earned his bachelor’s degree at the University at Buffalo and went to seminary at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry degree with an emphasis in preaching from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Pastor Scott and his wife, Kate, live in Bowmansville, NY with their children Molly, Delaney, and John Scott. Scott and Kate love Western New York for many reasons, not the least of which are the changing seasons, wonderful people, and of course the Buffalo Bills. Pastor Scott’s ministry priorities are worship, preaching and teaching. Scott’s hobbies are guitar, golf, and reading. To read some of Scott’s musings visit his blog Way-ward at www.psdh.org.