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Centered on hope
May 18, 2009
by Rev. Steve Olson, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Dassel

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. “Grace to you and peace, from God our Father, and his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The media is feeding us a diet of high anxiety these days, with an occasional good news story thrown in as seasoning. From a marketing standpoint, that probably makes sense. Yet, what does this sort of diet do to our souls and our emotional well-being?

Anxiety creates fear, and fear demands action. Yet, what are we to do. A natural response is to tune in for more news and another serving of high anxiety. Is that the best alternative?

No! We don’t need more bad news and the anxiety it brings. The antidote for a diet of bad news is not more bad news. What we need is good news, and we have it in God’s word.

That is the news we need to be sharing. Instead of focussing on those things that make us anxious, through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving we present our requests to God, trusting in God’s love. We turn to God and as we do so, the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

What is more, then, we are able to focus on the good. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, these are the things we focus on and these are the things that put everything else into perspective. These are the things that help us remember who, and whose we, and what is really important in the world.

Centered in faith, centered on these things, centered on our Lord Jesus, we will have hope and that hope will never disappoint us.