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good morning friends how you doing today my name is alex I’m one of the pastors here if you’re visiting we’re really glad you are visiting great to have you here today uh I will acknowledge the bear in the room in a second but first let’s kind of inside let me just say like I loved singing abide with me with you I loved especially that it was the correct tune I have this tension sometimes because sometimes being over here from a different country you guys you move the tunes around I’m like I’m not happy but but what’s special to me about this one is it has this weird tradition back home it’s sung before the fa cup final this huge soccer match every single year so 80 000 fans in a stadium come together and sing abide with me and so there’s always this incredible image of like this 300 pound english guy who’s like two pints in working on three kind of like just just there roaring out help of the helpless lord abide with me and you’re like do you know what you’re singing but I’m so glad you are singing it it just has this incredible vibe what an incredible hymn we’re in the series on emotions and today we get to talk about fear and a few uh maybe a month ago maybe a year ago now I brought my pal red bow bear here he was going to be on stage for the whole time uh but aaron didn’t want to share the stage with him for worship he said he couldn’t take himself seriously leading worship with a smiling bear next to him and even teresa objected to sharing this stage with him for announcements but he’s here now um and he speaks to a process that goes on in our brains when we think about fear first of all what we’re going to talk about is we’re going to talk about a biological process something that is happening within you there is a moment where you encounter something that is fearful and your brain kicks into gear it is to imagine what it is to kind of get a grip of it is to to imagine just sitting next to a bear and all the emotions that you might feel and because the internet has everything we can now see what this looks like because this photographer was out just hanging out by a river and who should wander into the sea but this giant bear who simply came to be involved in what was going on no real threat he’s just there to hang out and so the clip is a little longer and I remember I was like watching it by myself the first time not with hundreds of you but he will in a second just just take a seat what is your response when a bear wanders in to the scene for some of you it’s fright and then like flight right I’m going to run away I’m going to get out of here and then for a couple of you who are hunters out there you’re like just give me a chance I will take this guy down there’s not going to be any problems and yet it seems in this moment there’s nothing to be scared about he just he just wants to be there in actual fact you don’t need to be afraid of despair it seems just like I would suggest for those of you that are you don’t need to be afraid of this bear either he’s pretty pretty harmless this is the brain response that is going on when we encounter something like this we have this thing called the amygdala which perceives fear it can do that in a couple of ways it can do it really slowly or intel and intelligently or it can do it really quickly when it needs to and so the reason it does that is this when you encounter something dangerous there’s a couple of potential consequences supposing you’re wandering along a pathway and and you don’t see a bear this time you see a snake or what you assume to be a snake and so your brain kicks into gear your amygdala fires and you jump out of the way as quickly as you can now it could be that what you see isn’t a snake it’s actually a garden hose pipe it’s very normal very undangerous but here’s the thing the reason your amygdala has to fire so quickly is this there are different levels of consequences to seeing a hose pipe and thinking it’s a snake than there are to seeing a snake and thinking it’s a hose pipe the first one makes you look a little bit silly the second one can get you killed you jump and react quickly like oh it’s just a hose pipe you feel a bit foolish even if you’re by yourself when it’s actually a snake you have to get out of the way quickly or you might die your brain works to protect you it is a safety mechanism it is really important but then there’s another thing that takes place which is this prefrontal cortex activity which is to say there is a danger danger is here is it really do I need to react to this moment I’d love to tell you a story about the first time I got to go on a mission trip I didn’t get the sanitized experience of a mission trip that many teenagers get I’d been abroad a couple of times actually only to ski which is not particularly dangerous except because some people are bad at skiing but in this in this trip I didn’t get to go with a wise caring youth pastor who said I’m going to plan everything to mitigate the dangers I went with a couple of other pastors who were not good at planning trips so we got to the airport I didn’t even have a ticket with my correct name on it somehow managed to get a six-hour flight and then a nine-hour flight then a one-hour flight and a 10-hour boat ride to this island in the southern philippines turns out when we got there there was an uprising going on so the southern half of the island was trying to overtake the northern part of the island where we were staying so arriving in town we were told we can’t stay in the village we were going to stay in we’re going to move you to a city because you’ll be safer there so I said okay whatever you think is best and I remember this moment the first night lying there and all I could hear was bang bang bang bang bang bang and there’s just the sound of gunfire now they’ve warned us they are kidnapping western tourists right now to hold you for ransom and I can hear what I think is gunfire I have this sense of the danger that is coming and I’m about 10 years younger than everyone else on the trip so lying there I looked to my older friends to give me some wise advice and I said guys I hear gunfire what should we do and they said we should pray and I said do you have any better ideas like do you do you have any like practical solutions that might help again I was only 19. I may have answered differently now it’s up to you to figure that out but I had this moment said like what was that it and for the next however long I lay there processing exactly this question my amygdala telling me danger is here and and then my brain the rest of my brain processing is it really what should we do is there an action we should take it turns out and I know that I have a habit of leaving you hanging with stories and not completing them I will complete this one it turns out that simply it was the chef for the conference we were holding for all the local pastors who had chosen 11 o’clock in the evening to use a machete to chop up a cow something that you rarely say in america and and that was what the sound was it was nothing to worry about actually my prefrontal cortex could have safely said there is no danger here you are fine we have this brain process that works when we encounter something that we might be fearful of occasionally you meet people that you’re like do you actually have this process this is my son jude he loves to climb stuff and and he was told by his sister just the other day uh don’t climb this it’s scary and jude turned around and said it’s not scary for me he’s got this sense of no I’m going to be fine this picture will cause anxiety for some of you this is alex hanold free solo climbing el capitan uh he has no ropes he’s just there thousands of feet above the ground just doing his thing and making it happen his brain is fascinating he goes all over the world and does these things so on one level people don’t understand why he does this and how he does this his traveling companion jimmy chin says that there are villages in parts of the world that are not regularly visited that actually believe alex is a witch of some kind because they’re like why how can you do this this is not possible nobody does these things but scientists have looked at him and said I don’t think your amygdala is functioning at all I question if you have one because this isn’t how somebody should operate so they put him in a machine to scan his brain and what they discovered was fascinating he does have an amygdala and it works great but his prefrontal cortex works great as well so when he experiences something that he might be fearful of he asks a couple of questions and this is a picture of him just staring out fear in the face it’s a verb that is known as hanolding now because he’s the only person crazy enough to do it he asks these questions is it true is the fear true the situation how I’m understanding it that anxiety is it true and then is it helpful he knows that when he’s climbing something like this anxiety is not his friend fear is not his friend it will make him worse what he’s trying to do and the chances of him falling become greater his companion I just mentioned jimmy chin says this fear is always there it’s a survival instinct you just need to know how to manage it when we talk about fear we are talking about a response to events around us something happens a bear wanders into the scene and sits in a chair and we have to decide is there a response to this or am I over reacting oh that it were that simple right we just know that it isn’t one psychologist said this about fear as an emotion elizabeth kubler-ross said deep down at our cause there are only two emotions love and fear all positive emotions come from love or negative or difficult emotions they come from fear doesn’t that tap into the story we began all this with this garden story this adam and eve story we watch as eve encounters and converses with this serpent with no obvious sign of fear fear is an after woods response and afterwards emotion what we see is this fall we have emotions before it but the fall introduces what you might call emotional suffering and c.s lewis once said fear of all emotions is is the worst in terms of the experience it is painful to anticipate painful to experience and painful to remember it is all negative part of the reason we’re tapping into this series on emotions and just a couple of weeks left before we get to easter is there’s this idea that feelings bring us new data that is missing when only thoughts are trusted I would suggest to you this understanding our emotions is part of the work of formation one psychologist looked at Jesus life and said there are 39 distinct emotions in Jesus life and he was incredibly emotionally healthy when we work hard to become emotionally healthy people we actually become more like Jesus we are more shaped in his way and more suited to live in the world around us so as we process this emotion of fear one of the things I think you’ll see is this there are loads of emotions we experience that we may struggle to identify really fear is what we’re experiencing sometimes you might be sad but really what you’re experiencing is fear you might be angry but really what you’re experiencing is fear somewhere it seems like fear is the cause of so many of the negative and difficult emotions that we struggle with and I would suggest while there’s that brain response fear often leads to another emotion that just statistically I would say 40 percent of us would admit to struggling with regularly so let’s jump into this story about a guy called abraham and see how fear relates to this secondary emotion that I’ll unveil in a second genesis chapter 20 verse one to two now abraham moved on from there into the region of the negev and lived between kadesh and sher if you don’t know who abraham is that’s absolutely fine I find abraham is really the first person that the jewish story is heavily based on it’s regularly described as abraham’s family God calls him and has him move very rare for the time from one geographical location to another and he now finds himself living amongst a group of people that he does not know this is a fairly new thing for this biblical story there’s the beginning when everyone lives in the same area and now we’re further on in the journey and lots of people live in lots of different spaces different languages now different religions and abraham encounters this new group of people for a while he stayed in guerrera and there abraham said of his wife sarah she is my sister then abimelech king of guerra sent for sarah and took her now this I’ve got to admit if you’re new to the bible is weird language this doesn’t fit in our current understanding of what societies look like a man comes into a city he has a beautiful woman with him and he says she’s my sister because he’s worried that people will kill him so they can take his wife they take her anyway but he feels like his life is going to be preserved and that for him he describes as a win that had been like king of grier sent for sarah and he took her what happens next in the story God came to abimelech in a dream one night and said to him you are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken she is a married woman where does the story go from here now abimelech had not gone near us so he said lord will you destroy an innocent nation did he not say to me she is my sister and didn’t she also say he is my brother I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands I’ve been like he’s kind of saying in terms of the customs of the day everything I did is above board I have operated in good faith there shouldn’t be any punishment here and interestingly God seems to agree with him then God said to him in the dream yes I know you did this with a clear conscience and so I have kept you from sinning against me that is why I did not let you touch her now return the man’s wife for he is a prophet and he will pray for you and you will live but if you do not return you may be sure that all who belong to you will die it’s a fascinating story in which the person who is purported to be this word prophet this man of God acts in a way that is out of keeping with God’s character and the other guy acts more according with God’s character it doesn’t fit all of our expectations of what a story in the bible should look like early the next morning abimelech summoned all his officials and when he told them all that had happened they were very much afraid then abimelech called abraham and said what have you done to us how have I wronged you that you brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom you have done things to me that should never be done literally it could be summed up in one world of one sentence like what the heck what are you doing this isn’t fair this isn’t right you shouldn’t have done these things and I’ve been like asked abraham what was your reason for doing this and abraham is going to give a reason but I think his reason needs a little bit of unpacking abraham replied I said to myself there is surely no fear of God in this place and they will kill me because of my wife abraham essentially says I was afraid I was fearful I had a moment where a bear came out of the woods and I just responded accordingly see this as an act of self-preservation I was just doing what needed to be done you might argue abraham experiences circumstances to which fear is a natural response he doesn’t know these people they don’t speak the same language they don’t have the same religion he is fearful for his life so he takes steps to make sure he gets to keep on living the most basic instinct of all human beings throughout the old testament it’s probably important to note this word fear is kind of up for grabs because it can be one of two words we would translate it fear but both of them fear but they are two separate words one is the word yura which means the fear of God respect and or this idea that God is above and beyond us the other one is the word yare which is the fear of white what might happen terror of the moment and you see both of them in this passage there is a moment where abraham says you guys don’t fear God you don’t respect him you don’t obey him ironically it’s abraham that’s kind of treading some weird lines with God right there and so because of who you are because I don’t trust you I became fearful I acted out of fear I acted as you would expect someone to act when there is a bear in the room it is terrifying you go into self-preservation mood fight or flight you just do what you have to do to survive except abraham’s lying this isn’t a fear thing this isn’t a reaction thing he planned this all along I would suggest abraham isn’t acting out of fear certainly not fear in the sense of his amygdala is firing and he has to figure out what to do instantly look at this part of the story he does come clean a little bit later when God made me wander from my father’s household I said to her this is how you can show your love to me everywhere we go say of me he is my brother this isn’t even the first time abraham has tried this trick he tried it when they were egypt and it worked badly then as well he’s now in this repeated pattern where he has made this decision no I’m going to lie he’s in this repeated pattern where he has an imagination of just how bad the story can get he expects it to go badly so he acts accordingly he’s not operating out of fear I would suggest abraham is operating where so many of us and me and myself operate he’s operating out of anxiety abraham experiences circumstances that make fear a natural response but it is anxiety that leads him to act as he does he has a pre-recording of just where this is going to go I’m going to get to this town they’re going to look at my wife they’re going to realize she’s attractive and realize that if they kill me they can take her again completely far into our culture but for that time absolutely considered normal behavior he has this understanding of just where the story will go and he plays it over and over again in his mind and haven’t we been where abraham is okay you probably haven’t had the exact scenario you probably haven’t wandered into a town and met a load of people and been concerned that they might think that they can take your wife from you or your husband from you you haven’t gone through that exact thing but haven’t you and I done the thing where we have like a pre-recording or an imagination of just what’s going to happen in a certain scenario we almost expect it before it happens isn’t that the difference between like anxiety and fear it’s that feeling that you get when there’s like a job interview coming up there’s just a lurking feeling in the pit of your stomach if I had to describe somewhat the difference between fear and anxiety fear is the moment you’re walking through a forest or a piece of woodland and a bear jumps out of you and everything responds in your brain anxiety is the feeling of starting the walk and spending the whole of the time just wondering when is this bear going to appear and what am I going to do when it gets there it’s the expectation that there’s something just around the corner that we we just don’t know how to deal with it’s the expectation that the story won’t be good the story won’t be what we hoped it will be it’s the expectation that we just aren’t sure that God really cares about our personal story he’s really interested in us we fear the story won’t be good and there’s that lurking suspicion even when there is no bear that one is just just around the corner what do we do with that what do we do with our anxiety what do we do with that constant sense that waking up in the middle of the night trying to figure out every situation that you can with a relationship every situation you can in family life every situation with your business with your work life every situation that you have with the broken car or the car that you’re sure is going to break at any moment and cost you an absolute fortune it can be all sorts of things but anxiety I would suggest is everywhere now may be helpful at this point to define it maybe just a little bit more and firstly to say anxiety is incredibly complex I can speak into the spiritual component of it but I’m not a psychologist or I’m not a counselor there’s loads of people that have more wisdom on how this works physiologically and everything but how do we deal with this especially and as a spiritual component so a couple of things so someone wise person said this anxiety is a once a function of biology and philosophy body and mind instinct and and reason personality and culture it is so broad has so many different dynamics but maybe this helps you narrow it down a little bit this helped me figure it out a bit in my mind it’s a psychological phenomenon and a sociological phenomenon it’s going on in your brain and it’s all around you and so to think in computer terms it’s both a hardware problem we have this wiring that is somewhat prone to go bad this sudden imagination that there’s fear around the corner and a software problem I run faulty logic programs that make me think anxious thoughts if you think about it if you struggle with anxiety you may be honest and say I see a pattern in myself there’s that moment where my body doesn’t do quite what I think it should feel maybe like something that could feel like a lump or something and I start to imagine just what that could mean and before I know it I’m really far down the road of I’ve got this thing and it’s probably life threatening and I can probably see that there’s this scenario where just a few months it’s going to get really bad and we start to play that tape over and over again maybe it’s a relationship I’m in this relationship and I can start to see the same patterns I’ve experienced before and just like everybody else has done this person in a while is going to leave me because they always do we start to see the same pattern really quickly maybe it’s in society I’ve got to meet some new people and they probably won’t get me they probably won’t like me and so you start to imagine really quickly the scenarios and how they’ll play out it’s not abraham it’s not his exact story but it is his response we already know where this is going we already have this sense that the worst will happen so many of us have those cycles that if we’re honest we play over and over again in 2019 the number of people that expressed having regular feelings of anxiety was 15 in 2020 40 of adults experienced anxiety can you think of anything that may have happened to get us to that point in actual fact there’s a number of things right there’s traveling through a pandemic together that’s traveling through huge national questions elections race all of those different things all of those different tensions there’s now a war going on although there’s been multiple wars going on multiple fronts sometimes we just let those bypass us but now there’s one that has grabbed our attention can you see why we have so many anxious thoughts only to add those to the personal experiences that each and every one of us have anxiety is an epidemic in our country and some people would say this one of the worst things about anxiety is this it makes us narcissistically preoccupied with ourselves if we’re honest in moments of anxiety everything is centered around what will happen to me and people I care about just psychologically this to me was fascinating if I was to tell you tomorrow there will be an earthquake that will kill 500 000 people and I was to tell you that tomorrow I’m going to cut off the end of one of your fingers you will lose more sleep over the second one than you will over the first one just by nature of who we are as people when pee when things affect us we are far more concerned about them even if the other event is huge and massive and affects everybody in the world we are wired it seems or preoccupied on some level with ourselves c.s lewis said this there is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against God he wants men to be concerned with what they do how they act in the world around them anxiety wants them thinking about what will happen to them when we move from fear there is a bear to anxiety what’s going to happen to me we tend to become so preoccupied with ourselves it’s almost impossible for us to engage with the God of the universe on any real level we spend all of our time thinking about this our worth our health our safety our future and we even begin to question God’s love does he even care is he even watching what is going on in this story why isn’t he acting in a way that I think he should act this isn’t an abraham story this isn’t an alex story this is this is a human story this is most of us at different points in our life part of the reason I would suggest it’s so hard to engage with God when we are in moments of anxiety is this I would suggest that fear and trust are pretty much opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to our relationship with God we can either fear or we can trust we can’t do both in our relationships with each other we can either fear or we can trust we can’t do both now you may be in a relationship that’s toxic and there is good real reason not to trust but even in good relationships we walk that spectrum do I trust this person do I read the best possible intentions into how they are acting or do I have all of these sort of reasons behind the scenes that they may be doing all of these things just to ruin my life in some particular way they seem like they are opposite ends of the spectrum fear and trust and it seems like we have to choose to make it even more complicated there’s this weird little phrase in the verse in the bible that says this do not be anxious about anything to not be anxious about anything I don’t know about you that has the temptation to make me more anxious suddenly I’m trying really hard not to be anxious maybe you’ve carried that burden maybe you’ve carried that burden that in actual fact God is displeased with you God is not happy with the amount of anxiety you carry God just wishes that you would respond in a better way to all of life’s circumstances maybe you’ve carried that in church communities and have been read by well-meaning people do not be anxious about anything and you’ve said oh but I’m trying I really am is this just a thing we’re supposed to try harder with are we supposed to take this away and say no I’m going to work really hard not to be anxious this week or is there a better way so here’s a question that I have to move us forward how does Jesus deal with anxiety and he does deal with anxiety as Jesus approaches this week that we are beginning to approach this week we call passion week this week that begins with a triumphant entry and a celebration and moves forward through struggle through emotional turmoil into death and then on to resurrection one of the constant emotions I would suggest we see in Jesus the ones that come up regularly is this emotion of anxiety in john 13 21 we’re told as he gathered with his earliest followers to gather at this table that we’ll gather at this morning Jesus was troubled in spirit in this moment Jesus begins to unpack for them again just exactly what he is about to go through in this moment he gathers and he takes bread and he breaks it and he says this is my body broken for you

in this moment he takes blood or wine and he says this is my blood shed for the sins of the world Jesus has walked them through what is coming time and time again and they never seem to get it they never quite understand that this is where the story is going and yet even though they don’t understand that this is where the story is going I would suggest that they too this themselves be the most anxiety ridden meal of all time everybody is feeling the pressure of the moment this story seems to be coming to its climax it seems like the tensions in the city are getting more and more notable Jesus is getting more and more attacks from religious leaders the romans are looking at him with suspicion and so for every single one of them there is a sense of anxiety we start to see it in Jesus and we can imagine it in his earliest followers Jesus says to them one of you will betray me and they begin to react with a sense of no it’s not going to be me but perhaps we would look at that and read it that there’s a suspicion somewhere in each of their own hearts that it might actually be them maybe really deep down each of them has that potential that tendency to be that one yes it’s judas in the end but it seems like somewhere it could have been any of them at different points they gather at this table and they sit and in the moment of anxiety in the moment of struggle about what exactly where exactly the story is going they sit and they take bread and they take wine and Jesus unpacks exactly where his story is going and then in the midst of hearing that in the midst of the struggle for these first disciples who are hearing that their their rabbi their master will die there’s this moment where they do something that I find to be so unusual except it’s just one of the passover rituals they sing a hymn before they go out to pray now for those of you that like we should only sing hymns and new songs are terrible maybe this is your like go-to verse you’re like aaron I just want you to read this just they sang hymns we should only sing hymns try and lose the new songs if you can but that isn’t what this means this is this process of them singing a specific group of psalms that have some words that are fascinating psalm 118 is probably the last one they would have sung the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone the lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes the lord has done it this very day let us rejoice today and be glad give thanks to the lord for he is good his love endures forever do they believe that in this moment they’re going out secretly into the night running away from roman soldiers from jewish leaders there seems to them hiding away from everything that is happening to them in this moment do they believe that God is good when they hear Jesus describe where the story is going do they believe that God is good can they sing this in this moment of anxiety with any legitimacy and yet they sing it anyway as they leave they take a walk out to a place that it seems they have prayed often and together and there we see Jesus at possibly his most vulnerable point he took peter james and john along with him isn’t it fascinating as a side note on anxiety that somewhere in this moment Jesus includes his friends in the so it’s delightful what was that I need to know that piece of music is it’s going to be stuck in my head all day peter james and john he takes along and he brings two friends into his anxiety he brings them into his conversation maybe as an aside that says to us that maybe we should do the same he models that for us even though his friends are awful and don’t understand him and completely missed the point he still chooses this and he reveals to them in his vulnerability he is deeply distressed and troubled the message version translates it like this he sank into a pit of suffocating darkness he told them I feel bad enough right now to die stay here and keep vigil with me that language I’ve just watched just keep me company in this lowest point another modern translation says that he fell into a sinkhole of emotion maybe you’ve seen those pictures in either newspapers or on the internet or on tv news you’ve seen what it is to see a piece of land suddenly drop away with no warning whatsoever a hole forms in the ground and suddenly the things that were on stable ground are no longer unstable ground that’s how one rider chooses to translate translate Jesus experience in this moment he was on stable ground and now he isn’t now he’s lost in this deep emotion this anxiety that seems to have the potential to consume him in my experience of churches we have these two very strange tendencies and different churches seem to fall into different patterns there are some churches that push into Jesus humanity to the point that they say he wasn’t really God and it robs the cross and the death and resurrection of Jesus of all of its power and purposefulness the point of death and resurrection is that it changes everything God has staked everything on his son and what he does in the world but the other strange tendency that has just as many problems is we tend to push into this idea of divinity at the expense of humanity we sanitize everything that Jesus is going through in this moment because we say this well he was really God it can’t have affected him in quite the same way he knew where the story was going it can’t have been that hard we take some of the humanity away and yet what we see here in this moment is we see Jesus in his most vulnerable we see Jesus in this moment of suffocating darkness this moment of the sinkhole and maybe you’ve sat there too maybe you’ve been in that moment I just feel like everything the firm footing underneath me has just fallen away and I don’t know where I am or where I stand what do I do in that moment I would suggest in that moment we do what Jesus did we begin by acknowledging our fears we begin by acknowledging just how truly awful the situation seems Jesus comes to his father with everything that he is feeling every sense of this story isn’t the way that I want it to be and as he acknowledges his fears as he lands in that space of humanness he does something else that I think that we can do as well he expresses his hopes expresses his hopes that there might be a different story I’m so fascinated by this word if in the prayer that he prays because my early understanding of Jesus as a child is that there should be no if he should know that there is no other story this is the only possible outcome this is the only possible solution to the world’s problems to our problems why is he asking if there’s another story because my reading of Jesus says that he should know and yet in this moment it seems like he doesn’t know in this moment in his humanity there is a longing for a different story God is there any other way is there any other way that they can be okay is there any other way that they can be forgiven is there any other way that there can be a hope for a new world and a new story for them because if there is another way I would love to know what that is isn’t that maybe something that you and I have prayed as well we get landed in a situation a scenario we’re like God I don’t like this story I don’t want this story I want a different story I want you to create a different way of figuring all of this out why have you left me here with this burden this moment this relationship this sickness this struggle why have you left me in this moment of anxiety I want a different story Jesus does what the rest of that verse about anxiousness would ask us to do do not be anxious for anything but in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God that’s what he does he comes to his father and he pours out his heart says I am afraid I’m afraid because this story seems awful it’s this moment where it seems like just the awfulness of crucifixion and what it entails has started to hit him the cost of what it is to bear the sins of the world has started to become more emotionally felt for him and the honest expression is one of fear of I don’t want to keep going with this I don’t want this to be the story and I hope that there is a different way that is how Jesus approaches his anxiety the writer to the hebrews this book hebrews will say this in the days of his flesh Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to him who was able to save him from death and he was heard because of his reverence how was he heard is my question in what way was he heard there is no different story when I think about a prayer for me being heard I’m like I want a response I want a specific outcome and yet for Jesus that isn’t what it means what we see after this moment of prayer this moment of supplication what we see is him walk back to his disciples ready to embrace what this story looks like then he returned to the disciples and said to them are you still sleeping and resting look the hour has come the son of man is to be delivered into the hands of sinners rise let us go here comes my betrayer Jesus takes that moment of anxiety and he does what I think most of us in this room would do most of us have done I have done he has this conversation with his father that acknowledges his fears I have done that he has this conversation with his father where he expresses his hopes I have done that but then he does something that I rarely do that I struggle to do in this moment Jesus surrenders the outcome in my prayers I still maintain this distinct sense of God I know where this story should go I think I might be wise and I think maybe I’m even wiser than you in this respect I know what the answer is you should fix the story in this way when I pray if there is another story I have another story in mind and I stay passionately connected to seeing that story happen when Jesus prays that he surrenders the potential that there is another story and he surrenders to the story that his father has for him Jesus does this incredible thing in anxiety he acknowledges fears he expresses hopes and he surrenders the outcome that is how his conversation looks and before we wrap up the service I’m going to invite you to sit and aaron’s going to play us a song that allows space for that conversation to take place and don’t rush to the table but I’m going to open this table we’re going to do this thing that Jesus commanded us to do that he did in the moment of his anxiety and the anxiety of his earliest followers they gathered and they reminded themselves that there was a new story being created he took bread and he broke it and said this is my body broken for you he took a cup of wine and said this is my blood shed for the sins of the world Jesus responded to his anxiety with creating creating a new story for us so in our moments of anxiety we can come back to this table we can bring our fears bring our hopes and maybe get to a place where we surrender the outcome we say God I’m going to trust you in the midst of this story that doesn’t make sense in this world that doesn’t make sense in my anxiety that tells me the bear is just about to appear at any moment and that’s going to be terrifying we get to come and we get to listen to these words and I’m going to invite you to come when you’re ready and take the elements back to your chair

God as we bring all of our anxiety

a sense of worry sense that the story isn’t right sense that you may be not in control

we bring them to you I acknowledge my fears

acknowledge that I don’t think you’ve always got this right acknowledge that I think you should be doing something different and I get to express my hopes that you would do things the way that I think they should be done that you would fix the problems that I see that you would bring healing to the things that I need he need healing that you’ll bring answers to the things that I see needing answers

and then I surrender

surrender to the fact that I may not have all the information

so as I come to you as we come to you as a corporate group as individuals could you speak to us

amen