Aug 10, 2022 Musing - Remember God believes in you, do not be afraid
One of the many challenges of sermon writing is deciding what to include and what not to include in the message. The truth is in my preparation I always find and read and listen to much more than could ever be included in a single sermon.
Sometimes the material I found is saved for possible use in the future, but more often than not it ends up on the cutting room floor like scenes from movies that actors and director and crew shot only for some editor to discard to the trash heap.
In recent years some of these discarded clips have been discovered in Film Studio Vaults and shared with the public. Some of these newly seen clips have left critics wondering why they were ever discarded.
One such clip that was found was from the Wizard of Oz. It is of the Scarecrow singing his solo If I Only had a Brain. However, this clip includes a delightful extended dance sequence which is simply great and, in my non-critic’s view, worthy of inclusion in the original film. But alas I was not even born to have been asked my opinion. (FYI the link to the clip is found at the end of this musing.)
Last week, however, I had a different experience with something that did not make the sermon but certainly could have. However, before it hit the cutting room floor or went into the saved file, I had a plan for it. Part of the reason it was not included in the sermon is that this illustration includes a link to music and a video which I could not do justice to from the pulpit. However, it was so powerful that I decided it was best used in my next Midweek Musing.
Now if you were not in worship last week, or are reading this at some future date, my sermon focused on fear. The text was from Luke where Jesus says to the disciples – “Do not be afraid.”
I noted that God — be it through his son Jesus or via prophets or angels or even God's own voice— continually tries to remind us in the scriptures that we do not need to be afraid.
And yet God also understands that fear is a very real part of our human existence. Even Jesus speaks to knowing and experiencing fear. The key though is to remember God is with you and me and walks with us even in those hard and scary times, and that God promises to be with us in both life and death and even to the very end of the age.
Thus, even when assaulted by troubles and fears we need not be afraid and can live life with hope and
One example of such hope and joy even in the midst of fear and trouble is the story of David M Bailey.
I was privileged to meet and hear David speak and sing on a couple of occasions.
The bio from his website includes this description of him.
David is well-known as a 14-year survivor of a Glioblastoma brain tumor that was to have killed him in 6 months. His amazing story of hope and survival has inspired thousands of fans all over the world. He was a prolific songwriter with a relentless tour schedule across the nation and the world…The more you get to know his music, the more you will learn of the many sides of David: survivor, poet, philosopher, theologian, comedian, activist, husband, father, friend, and lover of all things coffee. The music of this passionate Presbyterian hippie-folksinger will wow you with sweet guitar licks but inspire you with words that resonate in the deep places of your heart and soul.
David was a successful software engineer before he was diagnosed with cancer. However, instead of being paralyzed with fear, he chose to embark on a new career with the hope of having his life make a difference in the lives of others. With a great leap of faith, he launched a career as a performing songwriter – he was dubbed a "troubadour of hope."
Following two surgeries, radiation, experimental chemotherapy, and nuclear therapy, David crisscrossed America (and Europe) singing in coffee houses and churches, for cancer conferences and cancer survivor groups for 12 years. David wrote all of his own songs, which grew out of his experiences of war (he grew up a missionary’s child in war-torn Beirut, Lebanon) and of battling a deadly cancer. He sang of faith, hope, love, and of living life to the fullest each day.
After a time of remission, he experienced a recurrence of brain cancer in late 2008, recovering enough to tour in 2009 and early 2010. Enduring numerous additional surgeries and difficult treatments, David made a final tour in July of 2010 before succumbing to the disease later that year.
Although surely David had times of great pain and fear, he did not let his fear overcome his hope and shatter his faith. He did not let his life lose its joy because of the hard times he faced. Difficulties that frankly I cannot imagine.
One of my favorite songs from David is entitled Do Not Be Afraid where he takes on the subject of fear directly. In it, he points to both his faith in God and the examples of other Saints who came before him as his own inspiration to live a life of joy despite fears.
May the words and music inspire each of us to live life likewise.
DO NOT BE AFRAID by David M Bailey
Troubles come and troubles go, do not be afraid Love is stronger than you know, do not be afraid Through the highs and through the lows, do not be afraid Find your faith and let it show, do not be afraid When your hope is out of sight, do not be afraid In the darkness of the night, do not be afraid It cannot overcome the light, do not be afraid In your heart you know I’m right, do not be afraid When the world says you are wrong, do not be afraid Stand up tall and sing your song, do not be afraid When the day is getting long, do not be afraid Flesh is weak but the spirit’s strong, do not be afraid If your friends should walk away, do not be afraid If you have nothing to say, do not be afraid If the cost is too high to pay, do not be afraid Soon will come a brand new day, do not be afraid When your well is running dry, do not be afraid When you are too tired to try, do not be afraid When you feel like you will die, do not be afraid When you really don’t’ know why, do not be afraid When you’ve made a big mistake, do not be afraid When you cannot seem to wake, do not be afraid When your heart begins to break, do not be afraid When you can’t endure the ache, do not be afraid All day today, and tomorrow too, do not be afraid Find a love you know is true, do not be afraid Let it shine in all you do, do not be afraid Remember God believes in you, do not be afraid
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Alleluia Amen.
Scarecrow solo: https://youtu.be/sSFQy_cLvLU