Adventure Theology: When Anxiety Spoils the Peace

Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.
~ Mark 16:8 (Common English Bible)

Since I began observing Lent, the sacrifice or discipline that I adopted usually ends with the first Sunday of Easter. But this year is different. Not only did I grow spiritually by taking up adventure for these forty days, but I'm not ready to give up adventure. This year's Lenten discipline will last beyond the season. While I do not plan to blog about these adventures as frequently as I have, the explorations and lessons learned will continue. In an interview with Krista Tippett last week, Armenian Orthodox theologian Vigen Guroian made the comment that "nature and Scripture interpret each other." I wondered if he had discovered the journal I've kept these past few weeks because that's exactly what happened on my first post-Lenten hike.

After a fulfilling hike, my friend and I found a bench overlooking a lake where we indulged in some rest and intermittent conversation, absorbing the beauty and quiet around us. Two weeks earlier, we had come to this same bench only to discover that a water moccasin had beat us to it. This time, post-Lent, we saw no sign of that snake or any other. After a few moments of rest, I heard rustling in the leaves behind me. I jumped.

"What was that?"

My friend looked in the direction of the noise, and after a few moments of listening, said, "It's not a snake."

"How do you know? Could you see what it was?"

"No, but I know the sounds. That's a squirrel or a bird, not a snake. You're fine."

We returned to quiet -- until the rustling began again. And I jumped again, holding my hands up in the air as if that would protect me.

"Are you sure that's not a snake?"

He laughed. "Would you like to switch seats with me?"

"No, that won't help any. Besides, I need to learn to be less anxious."

"It's good to be cautious--but don't be anxious."

As I sat there and slowly found myself more at ease, the words that I'd read on Easter Sunday returned to me: the description of three women so filled with anxiety that they ran away from the most miraculous location in history. Mark's original account of the resurrection ends not with an in-person Jesus but with an abstract sense of fear and trembling. Caution had given way to fear for them--and for me on this bench. At a time of day when I should have been most at peace, I was anxious.

As Christians, every day is one of resurrection for us. Let's not allow fear to have the last word as it did in Mark's account of the story. Let us live beyond fear into the reassurance that whatever worries us today pales in comparison to God's grace. Receive grace so that we might fully enjoy the beauty of grace each and every day.

Easter joy to each of you,
Pastor Darian