It's Friday the 13th. It's a date that brings a sense of fear and dread to so many of us. That makes today a great day to write about fear. Did you know that fear of the number 13 has been given a name? It's triskaidekaphobia. And the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia. These superstitions may have arisen from the story of Jesus' last supper and crucifixion because it is believed that there were 13 people in the Upper Room the night before his death on Good Friday. I didn't even know that until I consulted Wikipedia. It's a superstition without any truth to back it up.
On Sunday, we kicked off our sermon series called No Fear. In the message I introduced the acronym based on the word FEAR. It offers an antidote to our anxiety, worries and fears that can hold us back from being fully present to God and the significant others in our lives. It goes like this:
Face your fears with faith.
Examine your assumptions in light of facts.
Attack your anxieties with action.
Release your cares to God.
Superstitions, like Friday the 13th, have no basis in fact and cannot cause bad luck. Today God is still ruler of the universe and you are still God's beloved child, just like any other day. So relax. You're going to be okay.
Week two of our series has us confronting and discussing fear of "the other." The focus will be on how and why we develop fears about people who are different from us in terms of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and various abilities. Be sure to join us for this message. In the meantime, click here to enjoy this short video and remember the tenth verse of Isaiah 41:
Don't fear, because I am with you;
Don't be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will surely help you;
I will hold you with my righteous strong hand.