Our world is filled with fear. We fear the violence of war and the suffering of the masses. We fear the apocalyptic natural disasters that devastate our communities with increasing frequency. We fear horrific mass shootings that cause us to question the safety of public places. We fear the divisions that separate our families and friends. We fear pandemics that cause mass grief. We struggle with personal fears – fear for loss of our health, fear for the safety of our loved ones. We struggle with fears both real and imagined.
Fear paralyzes us. We cannot work actively against injustice when we fear. Fear divides us. We cannot love our neighbor when we fear them. Most of all, fear blinds us. We cannot see God’s work in the world when we are consumed with fear.
It is no wonder that all our faith traditions tell us “do not fear.” It is spoken in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles 365 times. The Quran speaks to it 124 times. In Islam, God says “…don’t fear anyone else because I am behind you, and no one can take you.” The prophet Isaiah (Is.41:10) declares God’s words: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” In the Christian gospels, Mark tells the story of the boat where the disciples became anxious and fearful during a storm. Jesus, who was in the boat with them, implied that their fear was due to lack of faith. John’s gospel preaches that “there is no fear in love; perfect love casts out fear.” It seems that faith and love are remedies for fear.
Fear is a human condition which we battle all our lives. But faith guides us to walk boldly through fear, which leads to hope. It is this hope that leads to action and change. As people of faith, let’s love our way through fear to be the light that shines in dark places and spreads hope throughout the beloved community.
– Susan Bolduc
Colorado Springs Faith Leader Table