Lent... Do not be afraid
The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace. Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. "
~ Luke 1:30 - 31
"An angel appeared," seems to be the alert in scripture that something amazing is about to happen to someone that is going to change their life forever. Today we don't seem to have these Biblical encounters. It's not that society has changed, it's just that we have so many other "things," to help us rationalize why things are happening to us.
Miracles are suddenly "anomalies." I remember years ago being told that because of an "anomaly of a cell," there was suddenly a cure to a disease. I laughed and asked how do you spell "anomaly?" I then said, "M I R A C L E."
For me, miracles are not always extra-ordinary things that require an angel to appear, although, the announcement that there is "something ahead," would be advantageous sometimes. It's as if I might suddenly see situation for what it is. Just the simple fact that my eyes opened this morning, the world around me seems to be just as I left it when I went to bed last night (which could be both bad or good depending on the situation), and I am once again having the opportunity to explore my faith while sitting and writing this reflection. Ordinary? or Miracle?
Okay, anyone hearing, "Fear not!"
I have to wonder if without the announcement, are we no longer living in expectation? When I look back at the times when an angel appeared, something in the world changed. If we are to be the living instruments of Christ in the world today, it suddenly seems to me that the duty of the announcement no longer falls on the appearance of an angel. The responsibility suddenly becomes ours!
We are to be the ones to reassure that wounded brother or sister that it will be "okay." To "fear not," that we will not abandon one another when the pain is too great to bear. When the disappointment beckons our heart to sink, the words, "I will be with you," can mean healing and restoration. When we walk through the valley of the shadow of our darkest times, we are to be the messenger, or reminder, to not "fear," but to persevere!
One of the greatest fears that any of us have is that somehow we will no longer be who we are. The inward journey of Lent is filled with steps that, for some, can be lined with fear. Acknowledging our failures, or disappointments, takes courage while recognizing that perhaps we are exactly who we are meant to be, means that we must be fearless.
The will of God will never lead us to a place where God's grace will not sustain us. "Fear not!" You are in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.