Don't be afraid

How often we hear the message; how rarely we believe. Or is it just me?

This injunction against fear is a thread through today's lectionary passages. Psalm 23 -- the classic psalm of comfort, where "thou preparest a table in the presence of mine enemies." Psalm 27 -- "The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?....Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. "

Jeremiah, today, tells us to fear the Lord, but that's a whole different kind of fear than the terror of people and situations that holds us back. The fear of the Lord, rather, is what sets us free from the fear of failure, the fear of others' opinions of us, the fear of not being good enough, fear of the unknown, and the list goes on. Similarly, as Romans talks about the law and how it teaches us to be conscious of sin, teaches also that we have nothing to fear because "our righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ" (3:22).

And in John, Jesus walks that fine balance between fearlessness and prudence -- keeping out of the way of those who want to kill him, but not letting that stop his ministry.

Thus girded with these reminders, can I say "Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea" (Psalm 46:2)? I need no great calamity to test my resolve; it shall be enough to remember in each tiny moment of worry and doubt that "The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?"


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