Scripture Reading: Romans 8:14-17
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Franklin Roosevelt’s famous words need to be heard again in our world: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. It seems we are afraid of our own shadows.
When I was a child polio was a big unknown, untamable killer. I remember my mother holding me over public toilet seats to prevent me from picking up this germ. Way back in the early 1980’s when AIDS was an untreatable killer there existed a lot of real fear about its contagion as well as irrational fear largely tied to the population most affected by it. My boss, a wonderful man, was diagnosed with AIDS during that time. I worked in a large public agency. In planning for his return to work after his first hospitalization and this resulting diagnosis, we had medical staff come in and explain to the staff that AIDS could not be transferred through casual contact or even sneezing. Most of the staff were more concerned about their dear friend and understood any precautions that might need to be taken in the rare possibility that a cut or fall or something resulted in possible contact with his blood. I had one staff member who was not dissuaded and was sharing the views of her church that this information was not true. When I called her in to see if I could lessen her fears. She assured me that I could not but that she had nothing to fear because she was the apple of God’s eye and thus fully protected by God. Totally stunned by this comment I said, “Well, OK, I guess you have no fears about him returning to work.” She assured me that she did not.
Shortly after he came back to work, I walked into a large staff meeting with him when the nurse who supervised our home care program and who is a rather imposing black women, jumped up from her seat moved quickly to smother him with the biggest hug anyone could give saying something about how glad she was to see him. Her actions set the tone for the whole meeting and the remainder of his tenure with the agency. She lived her love in the recognition that he too, was the apple of God’s eye. The words “fear not” appear 365 times in the Bible. We should heed them.
Prayer: Lord forgive us when we get caught up in irrational fears that not only limit our ability to love like you but are destructive to others. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved