As we enter Thanksgiving, Paul’s exhortation to a tiny church in a vast empire built on violence and subjugation speaks deeply to our hearts and reveals the source of our thanksgiving. Patience in suffering and perseverance in prayer spring from hope which is the wellspring of our joy and hope in turn springs forth from faith in Jesus Christ crucified and risen.
In 1989, the year of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Exxon Valdez disaster a new clothing label proclaimed, “No Fear.” A core Christian word became an advertising slogan that resonated with thousands. It was a powerful motivational logo.
“Fear not,” is a counter-word from the Christian Church. Fear not, because death holds no sway over us. Fear not, because the Spirit is at work even in the darkest circumstances. Fear not, because God our creator and loving Father/Mother continues the great work of God’s kingdom of shalom in which we already participate through Christ.
As a community we “Fear Not,” because we rejoice in hope, are patient in suffering and persevere in prayer.
May your Thanksgiving be fearless in hope.
Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley
General Secretary, American Baptist Churches USA