by Kenneth C. Kroohs

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Kenneth C. Kroohs
Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69:7-10 and 16-18; Romans 5:15b-19; Matthew 10:16-33

What are you most afraid of? I suspect that if we all could list the five things that scare us the most, there would be a lot of overlap. Probably 3 would be common to almost everyone, and there would be some variation -- but also a lot of similarity in the other two.

I am not a first century Israelite Christian, so I certainly cannot speak with authority about what scared them the most. I suspect though their list would be very different from ours.

For example, unlike those people very few people in this room, if any, can honestly fear starving to death. A drought or flood would not affect us. We might grumble because our favorite fruit is more expensive. Or we might (heaven forbid!) actually go without something because the harvest did not provide enough. But, we won't go hungry.

Very few people in this room, if any, have ever, honestly feared whether or not they could find a place to sleep. I am not talking about forgetting to make a reservation and finding the hotels full! Even if that results in a night spent in the car, we have not had the experience of fearing for our safety because housing was not available.

Some people have, with good reason, been afraid of disease. But honestly, our fears are relatively small. Every flu bug is not life threatening to most of us. We will be OK and if it becomes a problem we have available to us some of finest medical care the world has ever known. True, we all die eventually so we can say that medical care fails us eventually. But our fears are small compared to a first century person's fears.

And few, if any of us, can honestly say we fear for our safety because of the authorities. Despite the many movies, novels and conspiracy theories on the Internet, as we walk down the street we will not be accosted by the some government agent who insists we swear allegian ...

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