The most common message throughout the holy books of the Abrahamic people is “do not be afraid.” And yet, fear in many ways swirls around us. Sometimes fear is a gift of signal and alerts us to where true danger may lie. And sometimes fear is the mind-killer, the paralyzer, the insidious liar, and holds us back from the path before us.
And I suppose the difference — the choice — here is to BE afraid or to USE the fear. The long-standing BBC science fiction franchise Doctor Who finally cast a woman in the role in January 2020. The 13th Doctor asserts her nonviolence but is brave and stalwart in her stance against exploitation and injustice. This iteration of the Doctor is the most overtly justice-oriented of the group and is brilliant in a way the men never quite were. As a woman, I am probably biased, but her words have stayed with me this week.
“Where there is risk, there is hope,” the Doctor assures her companions. In the midst of climactic chaos, hope becomes the clearest path. Action is risky because it carries danger, because you may well be right to perceive fear. But some action must be taken, for we are God’s hands and feet in this world, and we have an obligation to continue the work.
God reminds us that fear cannot be where we live. We can use fear as a gift — an awareness of wrongness. But we cannot use it as a guide or as our compass. We must take holy risks, facing fear and opening roads of hope.
Peace be with you on your journey.
Rev. Jessica Abell, Pastor, Living Waters Community Church Denver,
Metro Denver Faith Leaders Caucus