"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." [Isaiah 43:1-3, NRSV]
Christmas is finally behind us! The shepherds have gone back to their fields. The Epiphany magi have left their gifts and headed for home. Mary is done pondering in her heart and is busy washing diapers and feeding the baby. Joseph is doing whatever Joseph does. We begin a new year and the first words of Scripture we hear on the Baptism of Our Lord are those posted above. "Do not fear." Sign me up for that!
There is a great deal to be fearful about in or world today. We are fearful about our economy and global warming. We are fearful about health care as well as our ability to pay our bills. LGBT people also have their own fears such as fear of being rejected by family and friends. Fear of becoming the victim of a hate crime or losing our jobs.
As we face the clean slate of a new year, examining our fears for just a moment, we hear the voice of God speaking to us through the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Do not fear.” These words are a love letter from the Eternal One; a life preserver when we feel like we're drowning. They remind us that we can face the future without fear, because God promises to walk with us! When we feel like were barely keeping our heads above water; when life gets to hot to handle, God has our back! This is most certainly good news indeed. Therefore, my LGBT brothers and sisters, let us face the new year with quiet strength knowing that the God who created the Universe journeys with us!