Newton Cowan, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

Perhaps among all the news stories about all the challenging things our community, nation and world are facing, you saw the story about Elmo.  Yes, Elmo, now it has been a minute or two since our daughters were watching Sesame Street, but this last week Elmo asked a question on social media.  The question, “Elmo is just checking in! How is everyone doing?”  The response was overwhelming as people shared how they were feeling.  A simple question, with a profound impact.

When asked that question, many people respond with some sense of anxiety.  As our newly formed Mental Health Ministry Team gets underway, the topic on so many people’s minds is related to anxiety and it knows no age barrier.  Children, youth, adults.  What is causing this, well there can be a long list, but how is we are to face this?  One piece is through our faith. Let me be clear this approach to dealing with significant anxiety, is only part of the puzzle along with skilled therapist to assist along with other methods.  But our faith, the Scriptures, have something to say to us.

Several weeks ago, one of our daughters texted me about a sermon she had come across.  The sermon was by Max Lucado entitled, Anxious for Nothing. I have listened to it several times.  He was preaching at Highland Park Presbyterian in Dallas, Texas.  His foundation, for the sermon, is based on Philippians 4:6-9

New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

4 Rejoice[a] in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if and there is anything worthy of praise, think about[c] these things. 9 As for the things that you have learned received and heard and noticed in me, do them, and the God of peace will be with you.

This is a powerful piece of Scripture and one that continues to speak to me, specifically verse 6.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  I fully understand that this seems easier said than done.  But God is faithful, God is present, God is listening.  Take a leap of faith and turn what is on your heart and mind over to Him.

At our last middle school Chick-Fil-A breakfast, we talked about this passage and about being anxious.  Normally, well they are middle schoolers, they are chatting as we share a devotion, but not that day, this text seemed to click, and I pray God continues to work through them with these words.  Be not anxious, turn it over to God.

But as Elmo asked, how is everyone doing?  How are you doing?  I wonder how this passage speaks to you.  I would love to hear from you how you are doing and how can the church come alongside to be on this journey of life together.