I must admit it does to me. In Matthew’s gospel Jesus is listening to the concerns of folks about everything happening in the world. He is honest in his response; there will be wars and rumours of war and nations will rise against nations, there will be earthquake and famine, but as you hear these things do not be afraid.
That always sounds easier said than done! However, there is a difference between not being afraid and having no concern for what is happening. Fear most often paralyses but being concerned motivates us to action for a better outcome for the victims of war or drought or earthquake. As much as our news has been filled with the bad of Covid we have seen in immeasurable abundance concerned folks who have acted to support communities, to bring healing, to drive out fear with love and hope. As soon as we saw the tanks of Russia drive into Ukraine we saw as well the concern of folks for simple humanity in the face of violence; of fundraising, aid, of open homes and with it the glimmer of hope and peace beyond fighting.
I suspect we will see more battles, be they between nations or with virus and ill-health. Many will face earthquakes through job loss or bereavement. Folks will face times of famine; be that in a literal sense with food, or energy, or transport provision through difficult financial circumstances. Or through other means with loss of friends or loved ones.
The call comes to folks facing these things to not be afraid. And it comes to us, the wider human community, the local village communities within which we live, to be of concern and to take action. When we act humanely the world knows peace and flourishes, the sick are healed, the captives set free from injustices, the hungry fed! May we not find ourselves paralysed by what we see and hear of, but be people of concern, be villages of actions and drive the darkness of the world out with the light of love and peace!