About This Issue
Have you ever lain in bed, stricken with fear over something that went bump in the night? Heard just one sound and "Was it the pipes?" went immediately to "That must have been the back door creaking!" Did you cower under the covers or try to sneak up on whatever you were sure was sneaking up on you?
Perhaps the details of night fears don’t really matter that much. These fears boil down to one thing: left to our own devices, our worries can escalate. Every dark and shadowy night obscures threats to the ordered lives we’ve built for ourselves. Unusual can go to terrifying in a heartbeat. Fortunately, we’re never really left to our own devices. Our creator, protector, redeemer God is always with us. Scripture repeatedly assures us of God’s presence, reminding us to have faith In God even when we cannot see.
But what about when we can see clearly, and we see a legitimate threat? Millions of women and girls around the world face the threat of gender-related violence—domestic abuse, sexual assault, human trafficking. Millions of people face the threat of war. War shatters societies and the people in those societies suddenly find themselves ripped from their homes, jobs and loved ones.
Regardless of whether our fears are rational or irrational, we can respond in faith—faith that we need not meet our fears and the threats alone. Our faith that we are accompanied in our quest for a better, more peaceful, more loving world allows us to face the pain of the present with clear-eyed resolve, courage, perseverance and hope.
2013–2014 Horizons Bible Study
An Abiding Hope:
Suggestions for Leaders
The books of Exodus and Deuteronomy invite us to
remember that the central actor in human experience — in our own lives and in the experiences described in Exodus and Deuteronomy—is God. Our God is one who redeems, who brings liberty and fulfillment even when we do not deserve it, when we cannot redeem ourselves. We have the assurance of God’s abiding presence as individuals and as a community of faith. This presence helps us see that God’s redemption is more than a “saving from” harsh circumstances; it also is a “saving to” the fullness of life God intends for humanity.
2014–2015 Horizons Bible Study
Suggestions for Leaders
Paul's writings are some of the most influential in Christianity. Revisiting the struggles Paul faced and the authenticity and integrity of his theology is an essential task for churches today in the midst of great change. Paul, like us, wrestled with and questioned his faith as he tried to live as authentically as possible in an ancient world that, like ours, was also in the midst of great change. What can we learn from visiting 2 Corinthians and considering Paul’s theology and ideas as they relate to the context of our time? Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty invites us all to read Paul’s letter afresh in light of today’s issues. Concepts of shared partnership, power in weakness, healing, reconciliation, love, and a new apostolate all figure prominently in her reading of Paul.