Advent 3: Learning from Fear

advent-3
To witness from the safety of a television screen, the fear in the eyes of families struggling to leave Aleppo, brings not only tears and heightens my own fears but also releases rage.
 
How can we as the human race participate in such lack of love and care for the lives of others?
 
How can we fear others so much that their lives and hopes and dreams don’t connect with our own love of our families and friends and hopes and dreams?
 
How can we experience our own fears and see the same fear in the bodies and souls of people around the world that some want to call “the other” and not respond? How can we watch an elderly woman bent over with crutches hobbling in an attempt to honor her fears to flee from the threat of death and not scream:
 

NO MORE!

No more fear driven wars.
No more fear promoting leaders who want to feed their power.
No more domestic agendas that hurt vulnerable people.
No more children dying.
No more senior citizens scared to death that their only source of income may be threatened.
No more, no more, no more!
No more fills my soul. I feel empty and powerless.
I’m tempted to honor the voices of powerlessness. I’m tempted to remain in my cocoon of inertia.
I am only one unheard voice in the midst of millions of voices of power.

Then I remember the homeless people I see every day and know that more people must use the church’s food pantry.

I see the fear in the eyes of the children who speak a different language or wear different clothes.

My husband’s prophetic question replays in my heart, “Is fear really becoming our norm and casting out love?” Once again I scream: NO!

This time I hear my biblical sister Mary say, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”    

May we be so honored and humbled to hear and heed her words.

Shalom,

Rev. Jolene Bergstrom Carlson
Executive Director/President

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