August 12, 2021

Communal Fear

Acts 5:1-11

Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

—  Acts 5:11

Over the past year, multiple crises have caused community-wide fear. A global pandemic has left millions dead and has caused disruption in all areas of life. Racist violence and oppression have gone unchecked and unresolved, and some protests have ended in destruction and bloodshed. Contested elections in several countries have caused more disruption, violence, and suspicion. All of these things and more have left people wondering what will come next. As a result, many people are living in fear.

I don’t think that the “great fear” that “seized the whole church” in Acts was due only to what happened to Ananias and Sapphira. Most of the people didn’t need to be worried about being punished in the same way. They knew that God is powerful and that truth-telling is important. But what they didn’t know was what might happen next—and that is probably what they were afraid of.

When the world shut down from COVID-19 in 2020, we didn’t know what would happen next. We didn’t know when things would return to normal. We didn’t know who would get sick. All of that caused fear. But throughout everything, God was and is in control. So we can remain calm. We can do what we need to do to stay safe. We can follow God’s will for our lives and for our communities. And we can trust that no matter what happens, God is still in control.

Father God, when fear seizes all of us, guide us to live in trust and to show your love. Amen.

About the author — Bret Lamsma

Bret Lamsma is director of faith formation at a church in Denver, Colorado, and has served churches in Michigan and California in youth, inter-generational, and educational ministries. Bret and his wife, Julie, have two children, and he enjoys hiking, camping, and visiting national parks with his family.

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