The Psalter of Jesus: Faith for the Fearful // Psalm 55

We would rather be ruined than changed
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.
— W.H. Auden

We are afraid, all of us. And it is no use pretending otherwise. The stoics who lean hard on such pretense wind up dismantling their souls and cutting off the tender places of the heart until love and mercy wither. That is folly. The alternative is to acknowledge our fear, which is no easy thing. Our fears encircle and overwhelm us. They fester in the soil of our rotting flesh, spawning nausea and panic. And with good reason. Our world threatens loss and exposure and insignificance. We might come to ruin or be found out or maybe even be forgotten. These fears are very real. And faith in God is not a some clever means to help us avoid them. On the contrary, faith in God only forms as the nausea and panic from our fears run their course. In other words, the comfort of faith can only attend the fearful. To deny fear is to reject faith. Jesus shows us a better way. "Join me on the fear-filled road to the cross," he bids us, "and God will meet us there."


CALL TO WORSHIP 

Dear Christian,
Though the troubles of this world swirl around you, fear not. Our God is a refuge—a hidden cave in the wilderness.
We will hide in You, Lord.

Though those in power cause you to quake, fear not. Our God promises that the righteous will not be moved.
We will trust in You, Lord.

Though the deluge of noise deafens your ears, fear not. Our God hears your voice.
We will cry to You, Lord.

Though the constant stream of bad news causes you to cover your eyes in horror, fear not. Cast your burdens on Our God, for He will sustain you.
We will look to You, Lord.

"Fear not, for I am with you, be not afraid for I am Your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Lord, into your hand we commit our spirits.

 

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

O God, our firm foundation, we tremble in fear. We cover our mouths in horror at the evils around us.
Give ear to our prayer, O God!

In spending our time studying the forces that have gotten us to where we are now, we have taken our eyes off of you. Now we find ourselves lost in the dark.
Hide Yourself not from us!

Our bodies are stricken with pain. Our hearts ache over the injustice we see all around us. We do not understand how this is Your plan.
We are restless and moaning!

Though we are united to Your Son, we do not trust in the completed work of His death.
We confess our desire for security over our desire for you. Forgive us.

We grumble and complain every hour of the day. Our hearts are weary from carrying the weight of this life.
Lord, save us from our faithless worry.

Though we are uncertain at every turn, You have said "call upon the Lord, and He will save you."
Father, draw us to Jesus. Help us to trust in You. Amen.

- authored by David MacKay