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Worship Series on Worry

Perhaps it’s annoying to be asked, “What are you worried about?”: annoying because some of us don’t feel that worried at all, and others of us might feel more like, “What am I NOT worried about?” That’s fair, and yet, we often come to points of life in which we are at least “concerned” (if not “worried”) about something.

Twentieth Century author Arthur Somers Roche said something to the effect of, “Worry is like a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained” (in Winning the War on Worry by L. Giglio, 2022). For four weeks in worship (Jan. 29-Feb. 19), we’ll explore some ways in which the thin stream of worry threatens to carve channels in our spirits: when courage and strength are not enough, when the past or future haunt us, and when we feel like we’re not enough. Ultimately, we’ll seek to hear together how God is with us and how seeing both God and ourselves through our faith may be the means of grace God uses to dam up or redirect the worry’s trickles.

If worry is related to fear, it’s likely also related to the “What ifs…” of life, like any of the following:

  • What if they laugh at me?

  • What if I mess up?

  • What if I get really sick?

  • What if someone I love gets really sick?

  • What if who I once was doesn’t fit with my current reality, or who God is transforming me to be?

  • What if my understanding of God is changing?

  • What if…

These what ifs can, indeed, carve channels in our brains and spirits. They can prevent us from doing the things we want to do, connecting in the ways we want to connect, and living into the fullness of life God seeks to foster in us. What’s more, our experiences, including worry, can also impact our relationship with God and what we believe God is like.

So, what are we to do when worry’s fear-trickles flow? Sometimes, we Christian folk tell each other, “Just let go, and let God.” Sometimes that works, though it is easier said than done, and it doesn’t seem to help us much when all evidence and experience leads us to think God is not handling things. Perhaps a slightly better response is, “God is with us in our suffering” (but this too might only lightly cover over the times when God seems apparently unwilling or unable to do anything about our suffering). When neither of these faith convictions help us feel connected to God in damming up the worry-trickles, it can be disorientating, which is a term used regularly by theologian Walter Brueggemann.

Through our worship series on worry, we’ll seek to honestly name some of the things that worry us, what we can do about them, what we can do about the worry-trickle, and what we believe and know about God related to our lives. Here are the sermon titles:

  • Worry, When Sucking it Up is Not Enough (or, When Things are Out of Our Control)

  • Worry, When the Past Haunts Us

  • Worry, When the Future Haunts Us

  • Worry, When We Feel We’re Not Enough.

Through these sermons, we’ll discover God’s grace active in our lives in at least the following ways: 1) in the lament prayer as a means of connecting with God in the midst of suffering, 2) in God’s forgiveness that calls us into new life, 3) in God’s calling, empowering, and sending presence seen in Jesus, and 4) in prayerful acts of confession, yielding, trust, and praise.

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