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19.03.2020

The Fear of Death and the Shield of David | Connecting with Culture

Fear is in the air – and it is a particular kind of fear. 

Amidst the daily readjustments, the working from home, the scurry for loo paper and pasta, the calls to relatives, and the deep concern for our livelihoods, the underlying fear that chills the nation is a fear for our very lives. Our delusions of invulnerability have been shattered. 

For the first time since the threat of nuclear annihilation hung over the UK in the 60s, millions of us are worried about dying, or worried about someone else dying. Suddenly, the question that door-knocking Christian evangelists and Jehovah’s Witnesses used to ask, ‘if you were to die tonight, where would you go? has a fresh pertinence. 

In reality, we ourselves may be in need of reassurance.  

Death has been firmly off the evangelistic and teaching agenda for some while. Yes, we have all heard sermons on death at funerals, but I suspect that on such occasions many of us are too busy grieving to fully take in the glorious truths of the future we have in Christ. Physical death has a sting – it is an enemy. Jesus weeps at the tomb of Lazarus, but Jesus also raises him to life a foretaste of the day when he will raise all who are his to eternal life in a transformed body. 

Of course, there are many ways we can serve our neighbours and co-workers – offering practical help, sharing supplies, calling – but one of the most powerful is to be a non-anxious, non-fearful presence, and to seek ways to share how our peace flows from our assurance of eternal life in Christ. 

Out of love, Christ gave his life that we might live. And it is that perfect love that drives out fear (1 John 4:18), and empowers us to take risks for others. In dangerous times, army chaplains tell me, people are much more open to offers of prayer, much more open to phrases like, ‘bless you, or ‘praying for you. Workplace groups testify to the same reality: co-workers in trouble are quicker to ask for prayer – if they know it’s on offer.  

This day, I am praying, as David did, that the Lord would be your shield (Psalm 18:2), your very present help in this time of trouble, and a fountain of hope and shalom to others. 

 

Mark Greene
Executive Director, LICC

Author

Mark Greene

Comments

  1. Thank you, Mark. What a true word to read first thing today. I truly believe this situation is not just a (physical) medical crisis or an economic emergency, though it is clearly both, but a massive spiritual turning point for our nation, and indeed all nations. It is surely an Esther “for such a time as this” moment for Jesus’ followers, the church, to offer to the nation right now what God has freely given us over the years: the steadfast love of the Lord. Our minds and spirits really do need to be “non-anxious and non-fearful”, so that our helping presence is likewise, and Isaiah 26 vv 1-9 tells us both how and why.

    By Jeremy Clare - 20th March 2020
  2. Love the relevance of the narrative at this time!

    By Ian Stevenson - 20th March 2020
  3. Thank you Mark and everyone at LICC for your support to the church. A useful reminder and encouragement . You are such a blessing .

    By Janet - 20th March 2020
  4. Thank you for the reminder and encouragement, Mark. As it happens our home group met online for the first time in its existence last night, to chat, pray and watch session 4 of Fruitfulness on the Frontline. Our Frontlines look a little different than “normal” but your inspiring course is particularly apt at this time.
    Bless you all at LICC from Broadbridge Heath.
    <

    By Chris R - 20th March 2020
  5. Thank you so much for that ..was much needed..

    By Iris White - 20th March 2020
  6. A thank you from Denmark. It was most encouraging!

    By Kirsten - 20th March 2020
  7. Perfect, Thank you Mark, just what we all need to here.

    By John I - 20th March 2020
  8. Great words of hope today. Thank you for your consistent Christ-centered teaching.

    By Russ Gehrlein - 20th March 2020
  9. Thanks Mark. We do still need to get rid of nuclear weapons as well of course! They have largely dropped out of public awareness but they are still there and could cause even greater harm than this virus. As Christians we should hope and work for a future without that threat too.

    By Martin Tiller - 20th March 2020
  10. Thank you Mark. May the Lord’s kingdom come and His will be done, “who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2)

    By Mark Edwards - 22nd March 2020
  11. Thanks Mark. I think at times like these people appreciate positive messages amongst all the doom and gloom so it’s a good opportunity for Christians.

    By Philip Hamilton - 2nd April 2020

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