Does fear belong in church?

When is the last time you walked into a church for the first time? It can be an intimidating experience. Even more so if you have been hurt in a church. Many people are simply afraid to go to church. Fear is something we too often forget to talk about. Instead, we give simple answers by saying "Do not be afraid" (Deuteronomy 31:8) or "good Christians aren't afraid." It's as if we think that if you truly believed in God then you wouldn't behave so fearfully.

"Fear is a barrier to belonging"

But, as we have been learning in this series, Jesus always leads with belonging and fear is a barrier to belonging. When we are unwilling to admit, talk about, and sit with our fears, they don't just go away. Instead they begin to rot away at our belief and behavior. So what should we do? How do we speak honestly about our fears and the fears of others? How do we give space for fears so that belonging can be established?
I look forward to exploring Luke 24:36b-48 with you this week. The disciples were terrified to see the risen Jesus, thinking he was a ghost, but Jesus' response will help us learn how to make space for fear and establish belonging. Perhaps we have a role to play in helping others feel like they belong, or even in learning that we belong.

Ryan Rovito

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