Owning Our Anxiety / by Andrew Fairfield

Dear friends,

For some inexplicable reason, I have childbirth on my mind a lot these days. Don’t know why that would be… but in any case, I find myself caught up in a fearsome sense of anticipation, anxiety, appreciation -- just a total jumble of emotions that accompanies looking forward to a new and radically changed future.

The epistle reading from this week’s lectionary, Romans 8:22-27, says that actually this mix of feelings is perfectly normal! The whole world is groaning in labor pains, says Paul, and so if you find yourself stuck between hope and pain, trepidation and anticipation, then that’s just because you have your eyes open!

Most people, especially ancient people, believed that the world never really changes. “There’s nothing new under the sun,” “the more things change the more they stay the same.” There’s definitely some truth to these adages -- but this scripture passage reminds us to expect real, radical change. And furthermore, we shouldn’t expect it to be a painless process: Although we trust in God and place our hope in the belief that the coming Kingdom will be a beautiful place, the fact that radical changes are coming explains a lot of the pain and chaos we see surrounding us now.

So of course the world’s a madhouse -- it’s a delivery room! When you look at it this way, a little bit of anxiety is perfectly proper, it doesn’t mean our faith is weak. But we can’t let it rule us, and we can’t let it drown out our joy in, and anticipation of, the things to come. May God give us fortitude and patience to see it through!

God’s peace be with you,