The new sermon series beginning this week is “Go Boldly.” Fearmongering is a simple word but it can have a dramatic impact in our lives.  It is defined as: “the action of deliberately arousing public fear or alarm about a particular issue.”  It seems everywhere we turn we are confronted with fear.  It makes sense because fear is a primal motivator for our lives.  It calls us to “fight” or “flight” emotions and it makes us cautious. It seems we are confronted every day with the voices of fear and we wonder what will give us confidence and security for living.  God’s desire for humanity is to create a boldness for living, especially a boldness for doing the right things.  God tells us that he is on our side and that courage is available for us in every circumstance.  Yet, when we are confronted with all the forces of fear and uncertainty it is hard for us to “go boldly.” This week’s sermon is “Compassion” and it follows up on the scripture that was used last week, Luke 10:25-37, the story of the Good Samaritan.  The Samaritan is an example of courageous compassion and it inspires us to have compassion for others.  The moral of the story, however, is not simply to be good compassionate people.  We are afraid to love our neighbor as ourselves because it is exhausting, at times frustrating, and even overwhelming!  How can we ever find the courageous compassion of this humble Samaritan?  This story guides us to find a courage, not based on our fragile human spirit, but upon the presence of a living and compassionate God.  We pray that you will find this presence and its power for your living, so that you will not be afraid as you confront the things in your life.  May you sense a grace-filled compassion as you read Luke 10:25-37:

 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (NIV)