Summary: Conventional wisdom says "Worry." Jesus says: Let not your hearts be troubled
I would like to focus on the first verse of the Gospel reading this afternoon
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me (Jn 14:1)
If you are anything like me, you will worry.
I worried about making ends meet when I felt God calling me to give up my job at Reckitts and go into the church.
I worried about Jonny, my eldest when he first went to Switzerland. Would he be able to make ends meet, get a steady job and settle down? Well, I can thank now God that he has.
I worry so much that Maddy often asks me:
“Why pray when you can worry”
So often I think that by worrying about a problem, I can solve it. And I very rarely do!
And it is to those crippling fears – those fears that trouble our hearts - that Jesus addresses in the Gospel reading.
Although the disciples did not know it, their world was going to be turned upside down within the space of a few days.
Jesus - in whom they had put their hopes, was going to be taken from them. He would be arrested within a few hours and executed a day or so later.
They were going to be fleeing for their lives.
Peter, Jesus’ boldest follower was going to deny him three times – not because he did not love Jesus but because he feared for his life. His heart was troubled.
And, of course, we know the end of the story.
Although it looked like the end of the road for Jesus and his followers, we know that Jesus rose again – an event we celebrate at Easter. He appeared to his disciples and encouraged them.
And he gave his disciples His Holy Spirit to enable them to have no fear in preaching the Gospel - an event that we commemorate at Whitsun (or Pentecost).
Fear takes the peace out of our lives.
No wonder Jesus said so often to the disciples: “Peace be with you” (e.g. Lk 24:36, Jn. 20:19, 21, 26)
The key to this peace is to trust in God the Father and in Jesus too.
And Jesus not only taught his disciples to trust God, he modelled what he taught too.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, he said: Father if you are willing take this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done. (Lk 22:42)
There is, in my opinion, a difference between believing in and trusting in Christ. Let me explain what I mean by way of a story:
Story: In the late 19th century (1859), Blondin a famous tightrope walker had a tightrope placed across the Niagara Falls.
He then proceeded to walk across it with a wheelbarrow in front of him.
When he reached the other side, he stepped down to the applause of the crowd.
He went up to members of the crowd and asked: "Do you believe that I can walk back on that rope without falling off?" "Yes" they each replied.
"Do you really believe I can make" he asked. "Yes" they replied. "We’ve just seen you do it"
"Then" said Blondin "get into the wheelbarrow.
"Not a chance" they replied "It is far too dangerous".
This is the difference between believing in and trusting in.
We might believe that Christ can provide all our needs. Stepping into the wheelbarrow means we are really prepared to trust him to provide for our needs.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me (Jn 14:1).
I was very touched by the poem that the Queen Mother chose for her own funeral. I think it expresses her Christian faith beautifully.
Let me read it to you.
I said to the man
who stood at the gate of the year.
“Give me a light that I may tread safely
into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you
better than light
and safer than a known way!”
So I went forth
and finding the Hand of God
trod gladly into the night.
M. Louise Haskins (1875-1957)
May I encourage us to to put our hand into the hand of God. To bring to Jesus those fears that cripple us. To trust Him to look after them for us. Amen