When fear enters our hearts and minds there is little room for anything else. Fear keeps us from feeling safe. Yet, ironically, when danger comes, fear seeks to keep us safe.
Fear has saved many lives. Since the beginning of time fear has sounded the warning cry for fires, storms, and dangers of all kinds. Just this past week we have heard how fear drove many survivors to safety from the Tennessee fires. These fears help us. They give us strength to escape to safety. We instinctively listen to these fears and act upon them for our survival.
But other kinds of fears may not give us overt direction for our behaviors. These are fears that may remain unknown to us. They may even be unconscious. Often these unnamed fears divide us. They fulfill the message that, Perfect Fear Casts out Love.
Still these fears are real. They become hurtful to us and others if we don’t see them and name them for what they are. When they remain unconscious we may act on them with divisive, hateful, or uninformed behaviors. We can see this happening in our country today. But if we name them, perhaps they can give us wisdom, grace, and dispel division.
Thus one of the gifts we may receive from our fears is the opportunity to face them, to name their power, and to realize that they can be our teachers. We may choose to ignore them, but we can also be open to receiving the gift of the information they are beckoning us to learn. It seems that Mary did just that.
The angel said to Mary:
Greetings favored one! The Lord is with you. But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. (Luke 1:28-30)
What fears do I need to ponder?
What fears do we as a country/world need to ponder?
Rev. Jolene Bergstrom Carlson