What are you afraid of? Things that go bump in the night?
Maybe there is fear of illness or the diminishing of abilities that comes with the aging process. Maybe we have financial fears. Maybe we have fears for others. But for the most part, I must say, that I don’t feel I live in fear from day to day. I am not afraid of getting shot, or contracting a fatal disease, or loosing my home, or the many other material fears that could plague my day to day life and are very real for others.
But Lent is a season to look deeper. What about other kinds of fears. Emotional fears. Subliminal fears. We may not feel those fears on a daily basis, but they are there. And, when we are honest, the list may be long.
It may be fear that keeps us from doing what is good – for us, for others, for the world.
It may be fear that keeps us from changing course in our lives.
It may be fear that prevents us from trying something new or making some change.
It may be fear that keeps us from getting involved in something that we may find meaningful.
It may be fear of failure, or fear of not being accepted, or even fear of succeeding that holds us back.
Fear may very well be keeping us from the full life and abundant joy that God intends for us. Fear may be stopping us from making a contribution to the greater good.
Fear has great power. It is controlling much of how people function in our society. The church has historically used fear to control people and to try to elicit “good” behavior from people: The fear of hell, of punishment, of God’s wrath.
There are many verses in scripture that encourage fear of God. Some scholars say that the word translated “fear” would be better expressed by the word “trust.” Trust in God instead of fear God.
The invitation from Jesus to live as part of God’s realm here and now has no fear attached to it. What fears are holding us back from saying “yes” to Jesus’ welcoming invitation to new life?
Lectionary readings for today:
Psalm 105:1-11, 37-45
Prayer: We pray to be honest about our fears. When we identify them we begin to undermine their power. May we put our trust in hope and joy. Amen.