|Theme:||Don't be afraid, God is there. 1st Sunday after the Epiphany - Year C|
|Object:||A pair of "floaties"|
|Scripture:||"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you." Isaiah 43:1b-2a (NIV)|
Do you know how to swim? Some people use something like these "floaties" to help them stay afloat when they they are first learning to swim. For some people, learning to swim can be a very frightening experience. They are so afraid of drowning that they don't want leave the shallow end of the pool, and if they do, they want to stay close to the edge and hold on to the side of the pool. The only trouble is, you can't learn to swim with your feet on the bottom or with your hands holding on to the side of the pool.
I heard a story about a boy who wanted to learn to swim, but he was afraid that he might drown. Then, one day, a new swimming instructor came to the pool. This instructor's swimming lessons were exactly what the boy needed. He knew that the boy was afraid of drowning, so as the lesson began and the boy began trying to swim, he walked alongside with his hand underneath the boy's belly. His hand was like a safety net in the boy's mind. He knew that he had nothing to fear because his instructor was there to keep him from drowning!
Sometimes, life can be a lot like learning to swim. It can be frightening. There may be times when we face uncertain situations and we may be afraid that we are getting in over our heads. Like the boy holding to the side of the pool, we want to hold on to those things of which we are sure.
There is no reason for us to be afraid. Just as the swimming instructor's hand was there to keep the boy from drowning, we have God's promise that he will be there for us when we go through deep water. Listen to his promise. "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you."
We are at the beginning of a new year. It is time for a fresh start -- a time of new beginnings. It is exciting, but it can also be frightening. As you face new situations in the coming year, let God's hand support you. He will always be there for you and he won't let you down.
Dear Father, as we face the uncertain days of a new year, we place our life in your hands. We claim your promise that you will be with us. Amen.
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