Reflections on Faith and Community

Dear friends,

On this page, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. You can also find them on the church's YouTube Channel in the "Weekly Word" playlist. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.

Andrew S. Odom

11/29/2016 8:36 AM

In Anxious Times

11/29/2016 8:36 AM
11/29/2016 8:36 AM

Your thoughts, how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them, any more than I could count the sand of the sea. (Psalm 139:17-18)

What will the next year really bring? What will the next presidency really bring? Will our country behave? What is going on? How did we get here? These are the questions that continue to be asked. Societal anxiety continues to rise. We are worried and unsure. It can be paralyzing.

Congregational consultant Susan Beaumont recently wrote about the anxiety that has popped up in churches. “How do we remain centered when everyone else seems so anxious?” she asks. Her answer is to reclaim a sense of wonder. “Wonder trumps anxiety. We cannot be filled with wonder and remain anxious at the same time. Wonder is the ability to feel amazement, admiration and curiosity about something. Wonder invited our best, most creative thinking. Wonder connects us with God.”

Psalm 139 is an exercise in wonder. Read it when you get a moment. You will find the psalmist writing about enemies that seemed to be everywhere. But instead of allowing the voices of fear or cynicism or judgment to take control, the psalmist returns to a place of wonder and curiosity about God. Instead of a prayer that ramps up the anxiety, we end up with one of the most beloved and intimately captivating prayers in the Bible.

As we move toward Bethlehem and the miraculous Christmas promise, take note of the voices in you that are cynical and fearful and judgmental. Acknowledge them. They are part of you after all. And then, sit silently and ponder the whole of the Christmas story. Take time to wonder about God, the one who is in and above all time and space, the one who was born in a pile of hay. Wonder trumps anxiety.