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  • Writer's pictureSteven Marsh

Fear: a Reflection on Psalm 11, Isaiah 59:15b-21, Revelation 2:8-17, and John 4:46-54

Twelve employees at a satirical magazine were gunned down by Islamist extremists in Paris. The flight attendants scheduled for a United Airlines flight refused to fly because of the words “Bye, Bye” written on a section of the tail wing. They were fired. A measles outbreak is taking the country by surprise. A three day old baby was stabbed to death. The headlines are bleak. Human nature is depraved. Fear is gripping lives and forcing more and more into an isolationist existence.

The psalmist reminds us that we are to take our refuge in the Lord. The inference is made that our righteous deeds evoke God’s pleasure. In times where people are looking for good news, perhaps the righteous deeds of followers of Jesus can dissipate a cold, calloused, and immobilizing fear.

Injustice displeases God. Murder, hunger, sickness, despair, homelessness, and any number of experiences that produce harmful wrongs cause human to cry “life is unfair.” And yes, life is unfair. But the real challenge is to engage the injustice which is most often at the root of “unfairness.”

We are to be faithful until death. Fear must not lead us to despondency or lack of zest for life. An enduring patience must be in play.

The royal official knew Jesus could heal his son. Jesus was fully aware that human loves “the sideshow.” Jesus acknowledged such in our gospel reading. But the man persisted. He wasn’t about the religious show or entertainment value. The man knew that Jesus could save his son’s life.

Jesus has saved and wants to continue to save us. But oh how fear has caused in human, in you, and in me to take a back seat and disengage from life. May that trend be reversed.

Scripture readings are taken from the two-year daily lectionary cycle which follows the liturgical calendar and begins on the First Sunday of Advent.

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