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Pinnacle Presbyterian Church

Echoes Blog

I love my friend Bill Smith's daily email postings. On October 10, he quoted form Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch-Hiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. 

First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.

Being slightly cheaper can be a good thing. But what prompted my chuckle was the "DON'T PANIC" in all caps. As a summary of a guide to the supposed wisdom of the universe, "DON'T PANIC" might come out about right. Reminds one of Jesus' constant word to his followers, "Don't be afraid." 

Of course that doesn't mean "Don't bother," or "Don't work," or "Don't think it matters." It simply means, "Don't panic." And how often we do panic. How often we look at circumstances, or challenges, or things that rightfully upset us and wonder, "Why?!" or "How?!" or "Oh, my God! What do I do now?" Or, worse, "I can't face this. I've failed. I've been failed by others. I've been failed by God. All I've left is rage, blame, and panic!" 

But panic is a product of feeling isolated in the face of unexpected challenge. 

Faith, by contrast, is a gift of accepting the idea (and awareness, if you're lucky) that you're NOT alone. God's Spirit is there. Faithful others are there. Knowledge is there. Possibilities are there, even when you don't think so. And an eternity of love and welcome waits beyond. 

In faith, rage becomes recognition and maybe even peace. In faith, blame is redirected into new questions: "What am I hearing? What am I to do? From where comes help?" In faith, panic becomes resolve to accept the challenge, accept help if it's there, let go of having to control the future, and tend to the moment without regret.

First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.